BIAFRA: It's been decades since the plight of the Igbo people of Biafra was highlighted during the Nigerian Civil War. The movement to resurrect the Republic of Biafra is gaining momentum. Sertan Sanderson reports.
With a court decision due in the case of Pro-Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu in late September, many Igbo people living in exile took to simultaneous protests across Europe to draw attention to their cause. One of those protests was held in Bonn, Germany, where roughly 100 protesters gathered, chanting slogans and handing out glossy flyers.
"It's not just here in Germany. If you go to Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Australia you will also see protests today. In Germany, we decided to come to Bonn because of the United Nations here. But what we want is peace. We don't want war again," one of the protestors, Solomon Uzochukwo, told DW.
Wanting peace, remembering war
The local police appeared to be impressed by the peaceful display, posing for pictures alongside the demonstrators. Uzochukwo, who lives in Frankfurt, embraced the police officers as if they were old friends.
"Ours is a message of peace," he stressed. Mike Okoro, who travelled from the western German city of Dortmund to join the demo, says he is hopeful for the future, but appears to remember the horrors of war more vividly.
"Joining Biafra with Nigeria gave way to many problems. We are Christians, and they don't like that. They have been killing our people since the 1960s. They still kill our people. Like if you protest about the issue in Nigeria, they shoot you," he told DW.mnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both accused the Nigerian military of using excessive force and carrying out extra-judicial killings - not only of suspected Boko Haram insurgents, who get most of the news coverage, but also of pro-Biafra protestors.
The military has categorically denied the charges.
More than three million civilians died in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War from 1967 to 1970 - the majority of whom, however, starved to death under the complete isolation the Nigerian military imposed on the breakaway nation. Biafra eventually surrendered and was reincorporated into Nigeria, but relations between the two have never improved.