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Leader of breakaway Biafra dies in London, aged 78


The army chief who led the breakaway state of Biafra in 1967 during Nigeria's civil war, died yesterday in London, aged 78. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had been suffering from ill health following a stroke.

Lt-Col Ojukwu's campaign for an independent state was one of the first of Africa's post-independence struggles, and one of the most bitterly fought, leading to famine and a massive flow of refugees to neighbouring countries. More than a million people died in the civil war waged against Nigerian government forces from 1967 to 1970.

The leader later accepted a pardon, and was regarded as an elder statesmen in his home state. Asked whether he regretted the war, he said: "I don't feel responsible at all. I did the best I could."