Burial For Nigeria Civil War Leader Recalls Biafra

Published March 2, 2012 9:27AM (EST)

NNEWI, Nigeria (AP) — Mourners have gathered to pay their respects to the late leader of Nigeria's breakaway Republic of Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, as well as reflect on Nigeria's bloody 1960s civil war.

Those wanting to remember Ojukwu came Friday to Nnewi, the leader's hometown in Nigeria's eastern Anambra state. There, Ojukwu's body lay esconced in a gold coffin draped in the Nigerian flag with an officer's black dress shoes, cap and sword laying atop it. A heavy police and military presence stood by.

Ojukwu, a millionaire's son who became the military leader of the breakaway republic, died in a London hospital on Nov. 26 after a protracted illness following a stroke. He was 78.

Ojukwu led Biafra as Nigeria descended into hellish reality as the nation's many ethnic groups fought over whether to remain unified during a bloody three-year civil war that killed 1 million people.

By Salon Staff

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