Leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has remembered the alleged killing of Deltans by a Nigerian soldier 52 years ago, Concise News reports.
The Abia-born activist stated that the proscribed IPOB would honour victims of the attack during Monday’s live broadcast.
He writes on his known Twitter handle today: “On this day October 7, 1967, in Asaba one Ibrahim Taiwo of the Nigerian Army masterminded the worst crime of the genocidal war against Biafrans. He killed every single able-bodied man in Asaba. Today we shall honor them with a prayer during the live broadcast.“
On this day October 7, 1967, in Asaba one Ibrahim Taiwo of the Nigerian Army masterminded the worst crime of the genocidal war against Biafrans. He killed every single able-bodied man in Asaba. Today we shall honor them with a prayer during the live broadcast.
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) October 7, 2019
The said massacre
The Asaba Massacre occurred in early October 1967, during the Biafran War, fought over the secession of Biafra (the predominantly-Igbo, former Eastern Region of Nigeria).
Asaba is ethnically and linguistically Igbo, but was never part of Biafra.
In August 1967, three months into the Biafran War, Biafran troops invaded the Midwest Region, to the west of the River Niger.
They spread west, taking Benin City and reaching as far as Ore, where they were pushed back by the Nigerian Second Division, under the command of Col. Murtala Muhammed.
The Federal troops gained the upper hand, and forced the Biafrans back to the Niger, where they crossed the bridge back into the Biafran city of Onitsha, which lies directly across from Asaba.
The Biafrans blew up the eastern spans of the bridge, so that the Federal troops were unable to pursue them.
The Federal troops entered Asaba around October 5, and began ransacking houses and killing civilians, claiming they were Biafran sympathisers.
Reports suggest that several hundred may have been killed individually and in groups at various locations in the town.
Leaders summoned the townspeople to assemble on the morning of October 7, hoping to end the violence through a show of support for “One Nigeria.”
Hundreds of men, women, and children, many wearing the ceremonial akwa ocha (white) attire paraded along the main street, singing, dancing, and chanting “One Nigeria.”
At a junction, men and teenage boys were separated from women and young children, and gathered in an open square at Ogbe-Osowa village.
Federal troops revealed machine guns, and orders were given, reportedly by Second-in-Command, Maj. Ibrahim Taiwo, to open fire.
It is estimated that more than 700 men and boys were killed, some as young as 12 years old, in addition to many more killed in the preceding days.
The bodies of some victims were retrieved by family members and buried at home.
But most were buried in mass graves, without appropriate ceremony.
Many extended families lost dozens of men and boys.
Federal troops occupied Asaba for many months, during which time most of the town was destroyed, many women and girls were raped or forcibly “married,” and large numbers of citizens fled, often not returning until the war ended in 1970.
The total death toll during early October was in excess of 1,000, although the exact numbers will likely never be known.