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1966 Igbo Massacre In Kano: May We Never Forget

By Johnpaul Anih, 29-12-2020

IGBO MASSACRE IN KANO 1966
TIMES MAGAZINE, LONDON, 7th of October 1966.

“The massacre began at the airport near the Fifth Battalion’s home city of Kano. A Lagos-bound jet had just arrived from London, and as the Kano passengers were escorted into the customs shed a wild-eyed soldier stormed in, brandishing a rifle and demanding ‘Ina Nyamiri?’ – the Hausa for ‘Where are the damned Igbos?’.

There were Igbos among the customs officers, and they dropped their chalk and fled, only to be shot down in the main terminal by other soldiers. Screaming the blood curses of a Moslem Holy War, the Hausa troops turned the airport into a shambles, bayonetting Igbo workers in the bar, gunning them down in the corridors, and hauling Igbo passengers off the plane to be lined up and shot.

From the airport the troops fanned out through downtown Kano, hunting down Igbos in bars, hotels, and on the streets. One contingent drove their Landrovers to the railroad station where more than 100 Igbos were waiting for a train, and cut them down with automatic weapon fire.

The soldiers did not have to do all the killing. They were soon joined by thousands of Hausa civilians, who rampaged through the city armed with stones, cutlasses, matchets, and home-made weapons of metal and broken glass. Crying ‘Heathen’ and ‘Allah’ the mobs and troops invaded the Sabon Gari (strangers’ quarter) ransacking, looting and burning Igbo homes and stores and murdering their owners.

All night long and into the morning the massacre went on. Then, tired but fulfilled, the Hausas drifted back to their homes and barracks to get some breakfast and sleep. Municipal garbage trucks were sent out to collect the dead and dump them into mass graves outside the city. The death toll will never be known, but it was at least thirty thousand.

Somehow several thousand Igbos survived the orgy, and all had the same thought: to get out of the North.”

  • Times Magazine London, 7 October, 1966.
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