Remembering the Massacre of Civilians in Aniomaland During the Nigerian Civil War

Odigwe A. Nwaokocha
Content Type
Journal Article
Brazilian Journal of African Studies
Issue Number
Publication Date
January/June 2019
Brazilian Journal of African Studies
Civil War war fought between July 6, 1967, and January 12, 1970. The war was a result of the Nigerian federal government’s attempt to militarily force the Eastern Region, which had seceded as Biafra, back to Nigeria. The secession was followed by three waves of targeted killings of the Igbo group, mostly from the East in the Northern Region, in May/June, July/August and September/October 1966. The Igbo group was the primary target of the attacks (First 1970, 311-334). The Igbo-speaking Anioma people were not part of Biafra but the old Midwest Region on the Nigerian side. They are generally considered as Igbo (Talbot 1969; Isichei 1976, 16). They were classified as pro-Biafra by federal forces and encountered some unique challenges in the war. The conflict got to them on August 9 1967, when Biafran forces crossed the Niger Bridge, invaded the Midwest and opened a new phase in the war. The armed conflict in Aniomaland was mean, involving the killing of unarmed civilians in many places. This forms the focus of this work. The work shows that Biafran forces kick-started this terrible episode by invading the Midwest. Historical facts show that their atrocities were lower compared to those of federal forces. There were three waves of civilian killings in Aniomaland during the war. The first involved Biafran killing people of Northern descent and non-Nigerians. The second was the Agbor episode where Ika micro-nationalism, bred by fear of being slaughtered for being Anioma, led some Ika into attacking the Igbo, including the Anioma. The third was the killing of the Anioma people by Nigerian troops in Utagba-Unor, Isheagu, Ogwashi-Uku, Ibusa and Asaba when they overran the area.
Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, History, Violence, Civilians
Political Geography
Africa, Nigeria