The Nigerian Civil War
The Nigerian Civil War, 1967 – 1970, was an ethnic and political conflict caused by the attempted secession of the South-eastern provinces of Nigeria as the self-proclaimed republic of Biafra. The war became notorious for the starvation in some of the besieged war-bound regions, and the consequent claims of genocide made by the largely Igbo people of those regions.
Causes of the Conflict
The conflict was the result of serious tensions, both ethnic and religious, between the different peoples of Nigeria. Like most modern African nations, Nigeria was an artificial construct, put together by agreement between European powers, paying little regard to historical African boundaries or population groups. The Nigeria which …show more content…
Although there was much sympathy in Europe and elsewhere, only four countries recognized the new republic. It was also said that one of the reasons for Ojukwu declaring the new Republic of Biafra is that he did not recognize Gowon as head of state because Gowon was not the next officer to Ironsi in the military hierarchy.
The Nigerian government immediately launched a "police action", using the armed forces to retake the secessionist territory.
At first Nigerian progress was slow, and failures of its larger army to invade the territory of the new republic led to a growth in worldwide support for Biafra. Biafran troops led by Colonel Banjo, a brilliant tactician, crossed the Niger River, entered the mid-western region, and launched attacks close to Lagos, the then Nigerian capital.
However reorganisation of the Nigerian forces, the reluctance of the Biafran army to fight, and the effects of a naval, land and air blockade of Biafra led to a change in the balance of forces. Biafran forces were pushed back into their core territory, and the capital of Biafra, the city of Enugu was captured by Nigerian forces. The Biafrans continued to resist in their core Igbo heartlands, which were soon surrounded by Nigerian forces.
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