Cascon Case NIB: Nigeria (Biafra) 1967-70

Nigeria_sm99.jpg (101386 bytes)

Status Quo Side: Nigeria

Non-Status Quo Side: Eastern region (Biafra)

Region: Africa

Conflict Type: External Intervention

Issues in Dispute: Ethnic, Independence

Phase 1: 1/1966

After Nigerian independence in October 1960 racial, religious, and political rivalries created severe problems. Resentment of Northern domination led to an Eastern (Ibo) coup in January 1966, the break-up of the Federation, an army mutiny in January 1966 which reinstated a non-Muslim Northerner General Yakubu Gowon, northern riots leading to a virtual massacre of resident Ibos, and an upsurge of Eastern tribalism. Gowon announced a plan for a 12-state Nigeria on May 27. In April Easterners under Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu took control of federal services in their region.

Phase 2: 5/30/1967

An independent Republic of Biafra was proclaimed. Gowon ordered immediate mobilization and economic sanctions to thwart secession, then implemented changes permitting more local autonomy.

Phase 3: 7/6/1967

Federal troops attacked. OAU mediation efforts, to which the UN deferred, were unavailing. Throughout, Gowon refused negotiations unless the secession ended, while Ojukwu refused to negotiate without a cease-fire. Nigeria had support from all but four OAU members and received arms from the UK and USSR. Biafran arms came from Portugal, France, and reportedly South Africa and Rhodesia: both sides used foreign mercenaries. Civilian suffering led to an international relief effort. Peace moves, begun secretely in 1968, became official in October 1969.

Phase 4: 1/12/1970

Biafra capitulated after losing its last airstrip.

Settled: 1/15/1970

A formal surrender was signed whereby the Republic of Biafra ceased to exist.

Cascon Home Copyright 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton