The 50th Anniversary Of The Biafran War

Men hold a portrait of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu in Nnewi, Nigeria on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The city where Biafra leader Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu lived is preparing for the burial of the civil war leader at his home here on Friday. Nigeria's 1960s civil war, between the federal government and Ojukwu's breakaway Republic of Biafra, killed 1 million people. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Men hold a portrait of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu in Nnewi, Nigeria on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The city where Biafra leader Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu lived is preparing for the burial of the civil war leader at his home here on Friday. Nigeria's 1960s civil war, between the federal government and Ojukwu's breakaway Republic of Biafra, killed 1 million people. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Men hold a portrait of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu in Nnewi, Nigeria on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The city where Biafra leader Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu lived is preparing for the burial of the civil war leader at his home here on Friday. Nigeria's 1960s civil war, between the federal government and Ojukwu's breakaway Republic of Biafra, killed 1 million people. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Men hold a portrait of Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu in Nnewi, Nigeria on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The city where Biafra leader Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu lived is preparing for the burial of the civil war leader at his home here on Friday. Nigeria's 1960s civil war, between the federal government and Ojukwu's breakaway Republic of Biafra, killed 1 million people. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The 50th Anniversary Of The Biafran War

Last month, the State of Illinois marked two memorial days. The first, more widely recognized, honored U.S. veterans who died while serving in the military -- the other recognized the 50th anniversary of the Biafran War.

Biafra was a separatist republic in Eastern Nigeria. It existed from July 1967 to January 1970. Leading up to the conflict, as many as 50,000 Igbo, Biafra’s ethnic majority, were killed. An estimated two million more people died from war and starvation before Biafra finally fell. The conflict displaced millions. The war led to the creation of some of the most prominent anti-war and humanitarian NGOs like Doctors Without Borders. 

Biafra-Krieg (1967-1979). (AP)

One family that witnessed the conflict firsthand was the Enyia family of Chicago. Samuel Enyia was a battalion commander in the Biafran Armed Forces. His wife, Irene, was a field nurse. Their six children are now leaders in Chicago’s Igbo-American community, including Chima Enyia, and Amara Enyia, who ran for Mayor in Chicago.

Justin Williams, a freelance reporter and audio producer with StoryCorps, profiled the Enyia family for the Chicago Defender as a spring 2017 reporting fellow with City BureauHe joins the four Enyias on Worldview to discuss the Biafra Conflict. Plus: We hear from Dr. Kanayo Odeluga, a physician and Igbo community leader, as he plans a 50-year remembrance of the Biafra conflict at Dominican University in September, 2017. Worldview also meets Ugochi Nwaogwugwu, a first generation Igbo-American writer, musician, and activist.