Reported earlier this morning… breakaway Republic of Biafra leader Chukwuemeka Ojukwu died in a London hospital after a stroke. The Nigerian colonel and politician served as the leader of the seccessionist Biafra republic from 1967 to 1970 – a move that was at the center of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War, which would eventually see the deaths of 1 to 3 million civillians and millitary personnel, a few years after Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960.
The rebel movement would eventually be squashed, and Biafra was reclaimed by Nigeria soon after Ojukwu fled, spending 13 years in exile, and eventually returned to Nigeria after he was unconditionally pardoned in 1982, where he would live the life of an elder statesman, with a few unsuccessful attempts at returning to active roles in the country’s politics.
And some 40 years after the Nigerian-Biafran War, remnants of that conflict’s roots still divide the country across ethnic lines, with the Igbo people, who made up the majority of the seccessionist Biafra republic (due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions, particularly with the northern feudal Muslim states and leaders), continue to endure political isolation in the country.
Thus, the dream of a true seperate country of their own is still very much alive for some within that forner breakaway region. As Ojukwu himself was quoted as saying in 2006, “Biafra is always an alternative.”
I’m not sure if a definitive documentary/film on the war has ever been produced (if anyone knows something I don’t, let me know); however, I did find this hour-long 1995 BBC documentary titled Biafra: Fighting a War without Guns, which examines the Igbo struggle to secede from Nigeria, told by those who witnessed the tragedy first-hand… including the leader of the secessionist republic, Ojukwu himself.
The doc is currently on YouTube, in 7 parts, where you can watch it; the person who uploaded it there didn’t make the clips embeddable for whatever reason (something that really annoys me actually – I hate it when people do that), so you’ll have to go to YouTube to watch it there.
Click HERE for part 1. Finding the remaining 7 parts should be easy enough.