BIAFRA WAR PART 14: Calabar Massacre
Nigerian Soldiers invaded Calabar in early 1968 without much resistance or investment. A seat of the ancient Kingdom of the same time, Calabar is in the southeastern part of Biafra, on the banks of the majestic Calabar river. Calabar has always been known as a melting pot and population mixture easterners who aren’t Igbos alone, it includes the Efik Ibibio, Igbo, and others. that’s had produced a beautiful cultural mosaic of traditions and dialects.
The Nigeria army purged the city of its Igbo inhabitants with what can be likened to the Nazi policy of eliminating all elements of Jews living or dead thought Europe twenty years earlier.
After the exercise of the Calabar invasion, The federal soldiers had shot at least 1000 to 100 Igbos which most of then are Civilians. There were other atrocities, throughout the region. “In Oji river”, The Times of London reported on August 2, 1968. The Nigerian forces opened brutal fire on health workers and patients in the wards. More people were killed in the blood lust of the Nigerian soldiers.
In April 1968, The Nigerians decided to mount a major strategic tactical Offensive designed to cut Biafra from the seacoast. The over forty thousand troops of the Third Division, lead by army colonel Benjamin adekunle engaged in an amphibious, land and air onslaught on the Niger River Delta city of Port Harcourt.
After weeks of the sustained crackdown, the invasion, killing, and brutality which involved rapes, looting, and outright brigands – The Nigeria Army fell to the Nigerians on May 12, 1968.
The third Division slowly marched North, crossing the IMO river, toward the market town of Aba. With heavy casualties suffered, Adekunle and his men shot brutally through a fierce Biafrans resistance and took Aba in August Owerri in September.
Colonel Adekunle beyond a reasonable doubt a Nigerian War hero had by now earned reputation in Biafran quarters for cruelty and sadism. After a number of provocative public statements illustrating his zeal for warfare, coupled with verbal clashes with intentional journalists and observer teams, Adekunle became the subject of the Local International Spotlight. His conduct was tagged as a source of embarrassment for Gowon’s wartime cabinet.
Perhaps Adekunle’s most heinous statement during the war was this: “[Biafran aid is] misguided humanitarian rubbish]… If children mist dies first, then that’s too bad, just too bad.” That statement caused such an international uproar that the federal government of Nigeria fount itself in the unenviable position of having to apologize for the actions not only of Adekunle but also of Haruna, leader of the Asaba massacre infamy. Unbeknownst to Adekunle, a quiet retirement from the Nigerian Army was in the Offing