The Making of an African Legend, The Biafra Story

"Mr Walter Partington of the Daily Express, London, 6 October:
But from what I have been told on my journey by chartered plane to towns to which the North civil airline would fly, and hitching a lift through this desolate land, the horror of the massacre at times seems to equal that of the Congo. I do not know if there are any Ibos left in the Northern Region … for if they are not dead they must be hiding in the bush of this land which is as big as Britain and France.
I saw vultures and dogs tearing at Ibo corpses, and women and children wielding matchets and clubs and guns. I talked in Kaduna with the Airline Charter Pilot who flew hundreds of Ibos to safety last week. He said, ‘The death toll must be far in excess of 3,000’… . One young English woman said, ‘The Hausa were carting wounded Ibos off to hospital to kill them there.’
I talked to three families who fled from the bush town of Nguru, 176 miles north of here [the dispatch was datelined Lagos]. They escaped in three Landrovers from the town where about fifty Ibos were murdered by mobs drunk on beer in some European shops. Another Englishman who fled the town told of two Catholic priests running for it, the mob after them. ‘I don’t know if they escaped;
I didn’t wait to see.’ … A lot of the massacred Ibos are buried in mass graves outside the Moslem walls.
In Jos charter pilots who have been airlifting Ibos to Eastern safety talked of at least 800 dead.
In Zaria, forty-five miles from Kaduna, I talked with a saffron-robed Hausa who told me: ‘We killed about 250 here. Perhaps Allah willed it.’
One European saw a woman and her daughter slaughtered in his front garden after he had been forced to turn them away.
Mr Colin Legum of the Observer, London, 16 October 1966:
While the Hausas in each town and village in the North know what happened in their own localities, only the Ibos know the whole terrible story from the 600,000 or so refugees who have fled to the safety of the Eastern Region – hacked, slashed, mangled, stripped naked and robbed of all their possessions; the orphans, the widows, the traumatized.
A woman, mute and dazed, arrived back in her
village after travelling for five days with only a bowl in her lap. She held her child’s head, which was severed before her eyes. Men, women and children arrived with arms and legs broken, hands hacked off, mouths split open.
Pregnant women were cut open and the unborn children killed.
The total casualties are unknown. The number of injured who have arrived in the East runs into thousands. After a fortnight the scene in the Eastern Region continues to be reminiscent of the ingathering of exiles into Israel after the end of the last war. The parallel is not fanciful..."
Excerpts from The Making of an African Legend, The Biafra Story by Fredrick Forysth.

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