About the Massacre
In October 1967, during the bloody civil war, federal troops occupied the peaceful town of Asaba, on the west bank of the Niger River. They accused the people of supporting the retreating Biafra troops and for two days they rampaged through the town, killing hundreds. The violence culminated in an unspeakably tragic event:
"On Saturday, October 7, several thousand townspeople, clad in their best white attire, came together, believing that a show of support for the Nigerian government would pacify the situation. Instead, after separating women and children from men and older boys, soldiers gathered the males in the square of Ogbe-Osowa village and turned their machine guns on them. More than 700 died, with many more gravely wounded. Most families were unable to retrieve the bodies, and the dead were buried in mass graves. Over the month of October, more than 1,000 civilians were killed, raped, and terrorized, and the town lay in ruins"
The Asaba Memorial Research Project
Most of the factual details of this event were collated as a result of a comprehensive University of South Florida research project carried out by Dr Elizabeth Bird and Dr Fraser Ottanelli.
Over the course of six years the pair visited Nigeria eight times and conducted over a hundred interviews with witnesses and survivors in order to compile a detailed record of the events.
With the permission of these authors, portions of their numerous research papers, interview records and journal articles have been cited on this page.
Visit the project website at www.asabamemorial.org
Those We Lost
Of the 500-700 estimated killed in the massacres (www.asabamemorial.org) , only 394 have been identified.