Biafra (was Re: Unita)

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at
Tue Dec 28 12:24:15 MST 1999

David Altman wrote:

> Savimbi wasn't the only African nationalist parading about in
> "Marxist-Leninist" clothing in those days.  Col. Odemegwu Ojukwu, leader of
> the Biafran war of independence from Nigeria 1967-70, in hopes of getting
> Chinese support for his cause, also made ritual declarations of support for
> "People's War" and denunciations of "Soviet Revisionism" (the Soviets were
> supporting the Nigerian government).  The cover of the "Ahiara Declaration,"
> the main programmatic declaration of the Biafran cause, shows Ojukwu posing
> in fatigues a la Fidel.  Rather amusing, since the guy was a
> dyed-in-the-wool bourgeois.
> I'd hasten to add that I thought the Biafran cause was totally justified and
> Ojukwu was an admirable figure in his way.  But a communist he wasn't!

It turns out that the portuguese fascist/colonialist government was heavily
involved in support for Biafra seccessionism. The rebels had a representant in
Lisboa, colonel Majokuvu, that was considered for all effects as an ambassador
of Biafra.

The airport of the island of S. Tomé (enlarged for that purpose) was used
permanently to fly supplies of food, medicine and weapons to the rebels. Right
to the last minute. It was also through this airport that Ojukwu finally fled to
Ivory Coast.

A ship was detained in Lagos, carrying 11.000 war pistols and 900.000 ammo for
the separatists, courtesy of the portuguese government. Worst still, in November
15, 1969, an Harvard T-6 plane, on a bombardment mission on northern Nigeria,
has had to make a forced landing. Its pilot was a portuguese air officer.

I was too young to remember much about that war, safe for the humanitarian
commotion it caused back them. Portuguese involvement was, of course, top
secret. Only recently it is surfacing.

João Paulo Monteiro

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