Today in history: Ojukwu declares the independence of Biafra

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On May 30, 1967, the head of the Eastern Region, Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared the region a sovereign and independent republic under the name of Biafra, with the authorisation of a consultative assembly.

General Yakubu Gowon, the leader of the federal government, refused to recognise Biafra’s secession.

In the hostilities that broke out the following July, Biafran troops were at first successful, but soon the numerically superior federal forces began to press Biafra’s boundaries inward from the south, west, and north. Biafra shrank to one-tenth its original area in the course of the war.

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