COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE.

EKWE NCHE.

pages 20 -29 

'we have dealt with Okpara's brothers and sisters'. They took us to the
Railway Station in an Army landrover, and there we saw a sight which I would
never like to see again to my dying day. Over 700 men, women and children
had been mowed down - they had been killed while they were waiting for a
train to take them to our Region. A few of the children were still creeping
over their dead mothers, shouting, 'Mama, I am hungry; I want to drink'.
Some were trying to suck their dead mothers' breasts! I left them to suck on!
"It should be borne in mind that three days before this unprecedented
massacre, it was announced over Kano Rediffusion Network that a passenger
train would be leaving Kano for Eastern Region on 2nd October, and that all
those wishing to travel should report on 1st of October, at the Railway
Station. Over 700 Ibos packed to the Railway Station. This announcement was
caused to be made by one Mr. T. George, the Senior Train Officer, who
incidentally is a native of Idoma (Northern Nigeria). He was educated at the
Methodist College, Uzuakoli (Biafra). He was a member of Nasara Club, and
attended all the meetings where it was decided to kill all the Ibos in Kano.
"They drove us to the Loco running shed: it was the same sad story of murder.
All the Ibo workers who had reported for duty wore killed. Next, we were
taken round the Sabon Gari. It was the same massacre of Ibos in Hotels where
they had gone to relax because it was a public holiday. All the hotels were
literally filled up with dead bodies. In Sabon Gari, everywhere we went, we
saw dead and dying Ibos. No tinge of compunction ever touched the conscience
of these soldiers who on the night of October 1st joined their civilian
Northern brothers to loot, pillage, and kill our kith and kin. After we had
seen enough, they took us back to the airport where they continued killing
those who were suspected of being Ibos. A further 10 from us reassured us
that we were not in any immediate danger although one of the soldiers had
doubted my identity in particular. He took me aside and asked me in honesty
if I was really a Ghanaian, and I assured him I was, but I gave him 5 more in
to the bargain. I asked him to take me round to see more of Okpara's dead
brothers, because
Page 20 Contd.../
the sight intrigued me. My motive for asking this was far from being
disinterested. On the contrary, I mainly wanted him to take me round to see
if I could stumble upon the dead bodies of my wife, my brother and my boy
whom I had not seen since we were separated. My fears were soon confirmed.
I saw the dead bodies of my brother and my boy near where I was supposedly
killed ... On the 4th of October the soldiers informed us that they could no
longer guarantee our safety. At this time there were still isolated cases of
shooting and beating up of people suspected of being Ibos. We went back to
Sabon Gari, but the Yorubas we met refused to give me protection ... I tried
one or two European friends I knew but each of them swore they would rather
die than give me protection since they were warned previously not to give any
Ibo man or woman any protection ... "
Finally, the monstrous atrocities which accompanied the gruesome massacres of
1966 bore testimony to the fact that the perpetrators were religiously intent
on genocide. There were numerous cases of torture and humiliation, maiming
and mutilation, gouging out of the eyes and tearing out of the womb,
slaughter and decapitation - atrocities which can only be explained by the
determination of the perpetrators to destroy Biafrans in every conceivable
way. A witness, Dick Iwobi, described to the Atrocities Tribunal an
outrageous method of murder which Northern Nigerians practised on Biafrans:
"This punishment is one of the most dreadful ways of crucifying a person. A
heavy rod is tied across the back of the chest of the victim with his hands
stretched and secured firmly on the rod. While the victim may still be
standing on his legs, he is as helpless as a man nailed to a cross. In this
position they then proceeded to torture the victim by plucking his eyes,
cutting his tongue or cutting his testicles ... "
Another witness, O. S. I. Udeng, saw another ghastly manner of killing at
Makurdi:
"On the 31st August, 1966, Easterners who ran from Zakibiam to Ugba were all
killed and thrown into Bukuru river ... The 5O Easterners (who were hiding in
the pastor's house) were ordered out by Isaac Kpum to
Page 21 Contd.../
the slaughter ground. These men were buried alive in two deep wells. Each
well was given a gun shot before actually closed up with stones and sand.
Yet another witness Daniel Agu, narrated his own harrowing blood-curdling
experience at Mada:
"On 2/10/66 we were in Mada Railway Station where we-saw four Northern
soldiers, one of whom was called Mai Karfi (i.e. the powerful man): another
one was called Mai Yanka (i.e. the great slaughterer) but I did not know the
names of the other two soldiers. Mai Yanka asked one Ibo man who was boiler
attendant in the Railway Station there why he locked the pipe. He said that
he locked it because there was no train coming. Then Mai Yanka told him to
shut up his foolish mouth. After saying this he and the other three soldiers
called all of us to come and see how they would kill our brother Ibo man like
a goat. Really, we were all forced to come and witness it. In a minute the
man was gripped by them all and then Mai Yanka took out his two-edged sword
and cut his head like a goat, as he said: at which the man's blood spread all
over our bodies like water spurting from a tap ... we were all both horrified
and gripped by fear."
Bestialities and indignities of all kinds were visited on Biafrans in 1966.
In Ikeja Barracks (Western Nigeria) Biafrans were forcibly fed on a mixture
of human urine and faeces. In Northern Nigeria numerous Biafran house-wives
and nursing mothers were raped before their husbands and children. Young
girls were abducted from their homes, work-places and schools and forced into
sexual intercourse with sick, demented and leprous men. As one witness, Erif
Spiff, told the Atrocities Tribunal:
"Many (Biafran) girls in the training school in Kano were collected and taken
to the leper colony to live with the lepers".
Even female nurses in General Hospitals in Northern Nigeria were so ridiculed
and humiliated by their patients and colleagues alike that some returned to
Biafra mentally disturbed.
Page 22 Contd.../
Bearing all this in mind, one should not be amazed that, in spite of their
strenuous efforts, Biafrans failed to procure a peaceful settlement with
Nigerians of the Crisis of 1966. As a matter of fact, for long after the
massacres of that year, the feeling was current in Nigeria that Biafrans had
not yet been sufficiently reduced both in number and in high-level manpower.
It was an open secret that many Nigerian Army Officers and men were urging on
their leaders that the two million Biafran survivors of the pogrom, rejected
and dejected people who had abandoned all their possessions and taken refuge
in their homeland, should be pursued thither and once for all destroyed along
with their home-keeping kinsmen.
The War of Aggression and Genocide Against the Republic of Biafra Commenced
6th July, 1967
(a) In July 1966, after the Supreme Commander, Major-General Aguiyi
Ironsi's death, army personnel of Northern Nigerian origin hunted for every
notable Ibo man in Lagos. They abducted them at nights and drove them to
unknown destinations where they were tortured to death. All these reflect
the genocidal intentions of Nigerians. The Law Courts set up under the
constitution to protect the lives and property of individuals were helpless.
Up till now nobody has punished the perpetrators of these atrocities, and the
only sane conclusion is that they were in consonance with the 7-point
programme of the organisers of the 1966 pogrom. What motivated Northern
Nigerians to these acts of genocide were nothing other than inveterate malice
and hatred for the Ibo man whose industry and dynamism are the envy of the
rest of the federation. While these atrocities were being committed against
the then Easterners, they were never given a chance to defend themselves.
They were disarmed, herded into airports, railway station, ostensibly to be
taken home. There they were set upon and massacred according to plan. All
manner of weapons were used; machine guns and rifles, bayonets and matchets,
spears and poisoned arrows. Some were burnt or buried alive. Some had their
throats cut in the presence of their families, pregnant women had their wombs
ripped open. Women of all ages were ravished before their husbands and
fathers. Pictures are available both from foreign and local press showing
varying degrees of
Page 23 Contd.../
injuries suffered by those victims. Some had their eyes pulled from their
sockets and mouths slashed from end to end. Private parts of people were cut
off or ripped into shreds. The catalogue is endless. Properties and
investments worth over thirty million pounds owned by the then Easterners -
hotels, churches, schools, shops, buildings were damaged or set fire to after
looting. The Yorubas of Western Nigeria were not silent in all these
genocidal exercises. They aided and abetted the Northerners at every stage
of the Pogrom, believing that once the Ibos were eliminated they and the
Northerners will dominate the federation to the exclusion of the Easterners.
(b) The Biafrans reacting in self defence and preservation of their lives
and property decided to declare their Sovereignty on the 30th of May, 1967.
The pill was too bitter for the Nigerians to swallow, and they openly
declared war on the young Republic on July 6th, 1967. Since the shooting war
broke out the Nigerians have sought to complete their genocidal intentions.
Even their war song, which is always played at the beginning and at the end
of their news items, exposes their mission to Biafra. The daily broadcast of
this song shows that the Nigerians have not and do not intend to abandon
their intention of genocide. Because of their superiority in number and
armament, having been openly supported by Britain, Russia, Egypt and Sudan,
the Nigerians have succeeded in occupying a large area of Biafran territory.
Reports from behind the enemy lines confirm the plan and indiscriminate
massacre of the civilian population, of wanton destruction of towns and
villages, farms and properties of the people. Conventions on warfare are
thrown overboard. The blood-thirsty Nigerian Army break doors of houses,
smash up furniture and loot as much as they can. Children abandoned by their
parents in their exodus are massacred. Aged women and pregnant women are
knocked down, if they are lucky not to be killed just for begging for pardon
for their children. Girls of tender age in their escape from the vandals for
safety are violently caught, raped and mutilated. Foreign visitors to Biafra
who come to investigate, know that every village in Biafra overrun by the
vandals is a scene of numerous corpses, villages and farms lying waste.
Page 24 Contd.../
(c) The allegation by Biafra that Nigerians have concentrated on
non-military targets is well illustrated by the following records which are
intercepts of coded messages from enemy Communications revealing that the
instructions to bomb civilian targets are official:
1. "CO/CALABAR)/CA: ABAR AIR FORCE BASE. CO
(CALABAR) - You go straight to Arochuku, do not
allow anything to stand.
CALABAR AIR FORCE BASE - Roger (All right) Sir
- Received 13.50 hours 30/5/68.
2. "NIGERIAN CO AT CALABAR (From)
CALABAR AIR FORCE BASE (To)
CALABAR CO - Bombing should be done on the
fishing port area and all the
areas of Ikot-Ifiat and Ikot Offiong.
CALABAR AIR BASE - Roger (All right) Sir.
Received 11.05 hours 23/3/68.
3. From: Lt.Col. Adekunle (PH)
To: NAF COMMANDER (Calabar)
NAF (CALABAR) - We will only do one mission because
the bombs are not enough. Which is
the important one?
Lt.Col. Adekunle (PH) - Go to AZUMINI and ABA:
Bomb the bastard civilians like mad.
Received 10.30 hours 18/6/68
4. NAF (PH)/NAF CALABAR
NAF/(PH): What is the weather like?
NAF (CAL.) - Fair, Sir.
NAF (PH): O.K. go and bomb Azumini and Akwete
and follow it up till the river
NAF/(CAL) - O.K. Sir. TIGER - FIGHTER BOMBER.
NAF (PH): When you come back, the tiger should
go to Aba area.
NAF (CAL): What targets Sir
NAF (PH): The town itself. Chase them like mad.
They should run away.
Received 09.08 hrs. 18/6/68
5. LT.COL. ADEKUNLE/NAF CALABAR COMD.
Lt.Col. Adekunle: Go to Aba and Owerri and throw
the remaining bombs to cause confusion.
Received 11.27 hours 25/6/68.
Page 25 Contd.../
6. LT.COL. ADEKUNLE/NAF CALABAR COMD.
Lt. Col. Adekunle: Get PH area map not areas OKUNBUA,
IGRITA AND ALLUA, 3 miles, 1 mile
radius, all that area anything you
see there, leave no living thing there.
Received 10.01 hours 25/6/68.
7. OPERATOR NAF DET. CALABAR - reporting today's bombing
activities on relay from
Calabar Sunray (CO) to
Overall Sunray (CO) at Lagos.
Calabar: Power station destroyed with two bombs.
Lagos: Roger (All right), go ahead.
Calabar: Heavy on activities at Aba/PH Rd. saw those
in uniform and bombed with eight bombs.
Lagos: Roger, what of IHIALA AND ULI?
Calabar: Pilot says Owerri town was bombed. Discovered
that after the bombing villagers were gathering.
Bombed village. Was to go back this morning
but unable to go due to bad weather at Owerri end.
Lagos: Roger, go back there tomorrow.
Calabar: Roger, nothing more.
Lagos: Roger, out.
Received 13.52 hours 25/6/68.
(d) Conduct of Land warfare
The Nigerian soldiers in strict obedience to their criminal intentions follow
their instructions to the letter. The following shocking reports of their
actual operation in Biafra will leave no one in doubt as to their intention
or their commission of genocide:
i. ABA 2,000 MASSACRED
Lying between the Imo River and Aba are two Biafran villages of Owazza and
Ozuaka and refugees from these villages have reported that when the Nigerian
troops invaded there on Friday the 16th of August, they killed more than
2,000 Biafrans. Susan Masid of the French Press Agency reporting this
horrifying incident had this to say "Young Ibos with terrifying eyes and
trembling lips told journalists in Aba that in the villages Nigerian troops
came from behind, shooting and firing everywhere, shooting everybody who was
running, firing into the houses". And this story was confirmed not only by
the Nigerian troops captured but by Irish Priest Professor Heery.
Page 26 Contd.../
It was in this area that the Commander of the Federal Troops boasted that he
would kill every moving object.
The atrocities spread like bush fire and at a refugee camp set up there, three
hundred and seventy-four (374) people were counted killed. In one village at
Asa - one Mr. Joseph Akwara an ex-railway Mechanic pensioner from Lagos was
captured together with the whole family. His wife and two other children
were killed as they tried to run into the bush for safety. The only
surviving son MICHAEL with tears running down his cheeks gave a chilly
account of how his family was wiped out by the vandals.
A foreign journalist, McArthy William who visited the devastated area of Aba
said he saw the Federal Army move in. This eye witness account says "The
villages were strewn with the corpses of the peasants caught unawares. The
smashed bodies of children, cast aside like broken dolls, lay in the rain
ditches running along-side the main street. The women, old and young, lay
huddled and dead among the wreckages, some with their hands tied behind their
backs." Those experts in atrocities make no distinction and innocent
children and women were their target victims.
Thus Susan Garth, moved by what she saw in Biafra, remarked: "We are all
guilty of murder of a million children in Biafra".
In Ogwe the newsweek correspondent describes how a Nigerian Lt. Lamurde
treated a poor and lonely boy who went in search for his parents in Ogwe in
Aba. This unfortunate victim of genocide had his hands tied to his legs.
The boy pleaded. "I am not a soldier, Sweet Jesus, save me". This didn't
register any sympathy. Instead Lamurde pumped bullets into his body and neck
and his men dragged this innocent boy's corpse across the road and heaved it
into the bushes. I attach as appendices sworn affidavits from Robert Wele of
Owazza and Mark Osondu Eke, eye witness to the massacres on the two villages
above.
After the bombing of Aba on the 25th April, 1968, William Norris writing in
the Sunday Times (London) of April 26th, page 12, under the caption
"Nightmare in Biafra" had this to say: "I have seen things in Biafra this
week which no man should have to see.
Page 27 Contd.../
Sights to search the heart and sicken the conscience I have seen children
roasted alive, young girls torn in two by shrapnel, pregnant women
eviscerated, and old men blown to fragments, I have seen these things and I
have seen their cause: high-flying Russian Ilyushin jets operated by Federal
Nigeria, dropping their bombs on civilian centres throughout Biafra ... "
ii. ONITSHA 300-STRONG CONGREGATION OF APOSTOLIC CHURCH EXTERMINATED
At Onitsha - the 300 strong congregation of the Apostolic Church decided to
stay on while others fled and to pray for deliverance. Col, Mohammed's
Second Division found them in the church, dragged them out, tied their hands
behind their backs and executed them."
This Onitsha massacre was also reported by another foreign journalist,
William Norris, in "The Times" of London of Thursday, April 25, 1968. He
wrote: "There is ... a young English doctor, Dr. Jan Hyde and his wife who
worked in a hospital near Onitsha until they were forced to leave when the
Federal troops moved in. The Hydes tell a horrifying story of the Apostolic
Church near their home, where the congregation decided to stay and pray for
deliverance instead of fleeing before Federal advance ... " Prominent among
the victims was one Alabingo of Zik's Spokesman Press Onitsha. I attach an
affidavit from Frank Chukwuma Ibegba, an eye-witness of the Onitsha
atrocities.
iii. CALABAR
Rev. David T. Craig, writing in the Presbyterian Record of December 1967
(Scotland) gave a more convincing account of Nigerian vandalism and acts of
genocide, under the caption of "Operation Calabar". He wrote inter alia ...
"It was then that I saw one of the horrors of this war. A group of Efik
people (the local inhabitants) brought two young men in civilian dress to the
soldiers. The young lads looked like secondary school students. With the
Northern soldiers was an Efik speaking soldier. It was his duty to question
prisoners in the Efik language. His job was to see if any spoke Efik with an
Ibo accent. These two young lads did. The soldiers took aim and they were
shot on the spot. I made my way back to the house.
Page 28 Contd.../
In October 1967 the invading Nigerian Army shelled Calabar General Hospital
for many hours. Several patients were killed in the process according to the
eye witness accounts by Miss A. E. Akpan and Mr. L. E. Udofia, both of the
hospital staff. In October 1967, a ship load of Calabar children was taken
to Lagos and camped in Suru Lere - Parents and Guardians cannot now tell
whether their children are dead, missing or kidnapped. About 250 are
involved.
iv. UYO 400 KILLED
The Nigerian vandals having shelled Uyo particularly the villages of Ifiayang,
Nwaniba, Ikot Offiong, Itu, Mbak Ndiya, Etinam and Itam for three consecutive
days claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Then they embarked on a systematic
elimination of leaders of thought and their families. 400 are reported so
far killed. These people were lined up and shot, supervised by Col. Garuba,
a Northern Nigerian soldier of Genocide. Prominent among those killed are:
1. Mr. E. A. Obot - retired Administrative Officer.
2. Mr. A. A. Obot - Principal Lutheran High School, member
Eastern Nigeria Legislature, member
Provincial Executive Committee, member
Consultative Assembly.
3. Mrs. A. A. Obot - a housewife.
4. All of Mr. and Mrs. Obot's five children - innocent kids.
5. Mr. Obot's two brothers-in-law.
6. The entire Obot family.
7. H.U. Akpabil - Former Eastern Nigeria Minister of State;
Proprietor Iman Secondary School, First
Commissioner for Uyo Province.
8. Chief J. B. Umana - Information Officer in the Biafran
Ministry of Information, Former
Information Attache to the Agent
General in U.K.
9. Prince D. J. Umonclak - Proprietor, Nsit People's
Grammar School, Printer, Former
Member Nigerian Parliament.
10. Chief Elijah A. Okon - General Manager of AMEZ Schools
in Biafra; member Consultative Assembly
and Provincial Executive Member.
The Nigerians themselves admitted these incidents but claim that they were
perpetrated by Biafrans. See Nigerian Papers to Addis Ababa Conference.
Page 29 Contd.../

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COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE.
EKWE NCHE Organization.