The Biafra War

A glimpse through pictures and interviews on the Nigerian Civil War

Growing up in Nigeria, I remember hearing many mentions of the Biafra War. As an Igbo kid, all I knew was that we Biafrans had lost. But as I started reading more about it, I learned so much more about this war, that led to the death of nearly 2 million people dead.

Biafra soldiers at the Nigerian Civil War

Biafra soldiers at the frontline during Nigeria Civil War. Photo courtesy of Picture Past magazine.

This is a photo and essay story about what happened leading up to the Biafra War all the way to the end and after the Biafra War, including interviews with first-hand witnesses in the war.

As an Igbo myself, I admit to having biases. The attempt of this website is not to stir a movement but to simply tell the story of my people.

For the person who is not Nigerian, some of these terms might be lost to you. Here are a few terms that might ease understanding:

  • Republic of Biafra: This was the name given to eastern side of Nigeria, predominantly Igbos, that seceded. Announced by Odumegwu Ojukwu, it became an independent nation on May 30,1967.

  • Igbos: One of the major nations in Nigeria, Igbos make up a majority of Biafra, located east, that tried to secede.

  • Tribes: Nigeria has more than 300 tribes/nations (people with distinct languages). Of the many nations, there are three major groups: Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba.

  • Hausa: Predominantly muslim, members of this ethnic group live mostly in the northern Nigeria and Southern Niger.

  • British colonialism: Britain colonized Nigeria in early 1800s, bringing together nations, many of which had different ways of life.

  • 1966 crises: This was a series of riots from May to September 1966 where Northerners, predominantly Hausas, with axes and weapons started killing Igbos in the North. Over 30,000 were killed. This led to a mass immigration of Igbos back to their homeland in the East and eventually to the East seceeding as the Republic of Biafra.