Flashback: the day Zambia recognised Biafra

Late Biafra leader Col Ujokwu


Statement by Foreign Minister, Reuben C. Kamanga on Zambia’s recognition of Biafra as a sovereign and independent state.
“The tragedy which has befallen the Federation of Nigeria is a most unwelcome event in the phase of Africa’s development. The current war and the atrocious exercises committed in waging the war, the loss of human life and property have shaken this continent and there are no prospects yet that Biafra can yield to what has almost become a war of attrition.
“The Zambian Government has been concerned about the future of this area of Africa. We have been, and are still, most concerned about peace, stability and unity among the people of that area. We have been even more concerned about the amount of blood which is being shed for what is obviously a futile cause. War, in our opinion, will not induce surrender. It will, as had already been seen, continue to widen the gap between the two combatants and increase fear among those who are the victims of war.
“Even before the crisis burst into military hostilities, the Zambian Government did everything in its power to prevent the increasing tension from escalating into a shooting war. Since the outbreak of war, Zambia has employed all available means to avert further loss of life and property. But the indiscriminate massacre of the innocent civilian population has filled us with horror. Whereas it is our ardent desire to foster African Unity, it would be morally wrong to force anybody into Unity founded on blood and bloodshed. For unity to be meaningful and beneficial it must be based on the consent of all parties concerned, offering security and justice to all. This horrifying war will make it impossible to create any basis for political unity of Biafra and Nigeria. The Zambian Government has therefore decided to recognise the Republic of Biafra as a Sovereign and independent state.
“We hope that the establishment of this Republic will now allow Nigeria and the people of Biafra to work out a better framework for cooperation, in order to ensure a better platform for more realistic unity among themselves, in order to live in peace and to foster African Unity in the spirit of brotherhood and mutual cooperation for the benefit of all the peoples of that region.
Dated: 20th May 1968

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