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Felix Chukwulozie Ogosi oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Felix Chukwulozie Ogosi oral history interview
Series Title:
Asaba Memorial oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (48 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Igbo
Creator:
Ogosi, Felix C., 1955-
Bird, S. Elizabeth
Ottanelli, Fraser M
Arinze, Emeka
Uraih, Ifeanyi
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Massacres -- Nigeria   ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity   ( lcsh )
Asaba (Nigeria)   ( lcsh )
History -- Nigeria -- Civil War, 1967-1970   ( lcsh )
History -- Personal narratives -- Nigeria -- Civil War, 1967-1970   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
Oral history interview with Felix Ogosi, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. The day of the massacre, the townspeople received messages asking them to come to the town square to dance and welcome the Nigerian troops. Ogosi, who was twelve years old at the time, was in the square watching and saw the soldiers setting up their machine guns. The men were separated from the women, and the soldiers began to shoot them. Ogosi ran back to his village, telling everyone he saw about the killings. He and his family escaped to their farm, which was in the bush outside the city, and stayed there for several months. Ogosi saw at least seventy people die in the town square before he ran away. The soldiers returned in 1968 and burned down most of the houses, killing more people, and after this incident Ogosi and his family went to Biafra and stayed there until the war ended. He supports the creation of a monument to the dead, particularly at the mass grave where most were buried.
Performers:
Interpreters, Emeka Arinze and Ifeanyi "Ify" Uraih.
Venue:
Interview conducted December 13, 2009.
Language:
Interview conducted in English and Igbo; transcript in English.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by S. Elizabeth Bird and Fraser Ottanelli.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 025702569
oclc - 690910482
usfldc doi - A34-00017
usfldc handle - a34.17
System ID:
SFS0021970:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


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Oral history interview with Felix Ogosi, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. The day of the massacre, the townspeople received messages asking them to come to the town square to dance and welcome the Nigerian troops. Ogosi, who was twelve years old at the time, was in the square watching and saw the soldiers setting up their machine guns. The men were separated from the women, and the soldiers began to shoot them. Ogosi ran back to his village, telling everyone he saw about the killings. He and his family escaped to their farm, which was in the bush outside the city, and stayed there for several months. Ogosi saw at least seventy people die in the town square before he ran away. The soldiers returned in 1968 and burned down most of the houses, killing more people, and after this incident Ogosi and his family went to Biafra and stayed there until the war ended. He supports the creation of a monument to the dead, particularly at the mass grave where most were buried.
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xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
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time 00:00:0.3
text S. Elizabeth Bird: Okay, this is Sunday, December 13 [2009].  This is Elizabeth Bird.  We are in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria, and I am interviewing Felix Chukwulozie Ogosi.  Also in the room is Fraser Ottanelli, University of South Florida, and if you could introduce yourself
1
00:00:22.1
Dr. Ify Uraih: Dr. Ify Uraih.
2
00:00:25.6
Barrister Emeka Arinze: Im Barrister Emeka Arinze.
3
00:00:29.6
EB: Thank you, and, uhBarrister Arinze is here to assist with translation.  All right, we just wanted to start byif you could talk a little bit about your life in Asaba before the war, before everything happened.  Who was in your family, what did they do, what was your fathers occupation, that kind of thing.
4
00:00:55.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
5
00:01:22.8
Felix Chukwulozie Ogosi: (Speaking in Igbo)
6
00:01:36.6
EA: I was attending a school at Enugu during the war.  So during that war, I have to return back to Asaba with (Speaking in Igbo).
7
00:01:51.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
8
00:01:53.8
EA: I have to return back to Asaba with my brothers property.
9
00:01:57.2
Fraser Ottanelli: Could you ask him how many people were in his family and to describe their ages?
10
00:02:1.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
11
00:02:7.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
12
00:02:15.1
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
13
00:02:15.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
14
00:02:16.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
15
00:02:16.6
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
16
00:02:22.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
17
00:02:25.6
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
18
00:02:30.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
19
00:02:39.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
20
00:02:46.3
EA: Okay.  In my family, we are seven male and four female, and myboth parents were alive during that period.
21
00:02:58.5
FO: So, he was a young man when these events took place.  So, could you ask him what his recollection of the events, of the days leading up to October 6 [1967] or October 7 [1967], what his recollection of those days are?
22
00:03:17.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
23
00:03:28.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
24
00:03:56.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
25
00:04:6.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:04:7.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo) on the seventh of October, seventh of October 1967 (Speaking in Igbo).
27
00:04:26.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:04:36.7
EA: Okay.  During this period in question, thats the seventh October 1957sixty-seven [1967]I recollect that the federal troops had enteredtrying to come into Asaba by shelling.  So they were sending shell, you know, shelling Asaba.  Go ahead.
29
00:04:58.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
30
00:05:3.0
EA: As these shellsyou know, these bombshad just been moved into Asaba, that fully into Asaba, people were running, helter-skelter, in different direction.
31
00:05:14.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
32
00:05:22.5
EA: People were looking for their children, you know, trying to find out where they are and trying to take them back to their homes.
33
00:05:31.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
34
00:05:34.9
EA: Everybody run into the home and they all started locking down.  Go ahead.
35
00:05:42.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
36
00:06:23.2
EA: As we all entered our homes, various homes, and the doors locked, we later saw federal troops.  You know, at that period we had the Biafrans and the Nigerians fight, so the Nigerians were called federal troops.  So the federal troops had already entered Asaba and they were shooting in different direction.
37
00:06:46.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
38
00:06:50.6
EA: And, at that period, we realized that one of our sisters was not at home, and my father instructed that I should go and look out for himfor her.
39
00:07:0.6
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
40
00:07:29.6
EA: When my parents sent me to go and look for my sister, we go out and we couldnt find her.  So on our way backsomewhere near where?
41
00:07:38.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:07:38.7
EA: Near the Catholic church, we met corpses on the road, littered (inaudible).
43
00:07:43.7
FO: What day was this?
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00:07:44.4
EA: Hmm?
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00:07:45.6
FO: What day?
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00:07:46.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
47
00:07:50.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
48
00:07:53.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
49
00:07:56.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
50
00:07:57.3
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
51
00:08:5.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
52
00:08:14.2
EA: Okay, this was the very first time the federal troops entered Asaba, but he cant remember the actual date.
53
00:08:22.4
FO: This is helpful, though.
54
00:08:23.9
EB: Before the parade and the killing?
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00:08:26.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:08:28.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:08:29.7
EA: So, what he is narrating now are events that happened before the seventh.
58
00:08:37.1
FO: Can you remember if it was the day before the parade, or the same day of the parade?
59
00:08:44.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
60
00:09:2.2
FCO: Before the main massacre.
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00:09:4.3
EA: A day before, or a few days before?
62
00:09:6.4
FCO: A day, a day before massacre.
63
00:09:8.2
EA: Okay, a day before the event, the, you know, killing.
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00:09:13.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
65
00:09:20.6
EA: So at the time my father sent me to look for my sister and we couldnt find her where we were asked to go, on my way I find those corpses, and I had to get home, and then I told my father that I couldnt find my sister.
66
00:09:35.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
67
00:09:52.3
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
68
00:09:55.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
69
00:09:56.9
EA: Now I want to go straight to the date of the event, which is seventh October 1967.
70
00:10:6.6
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:10:16.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
72
00:10:17.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:10:20.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:10:22.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:10:22.0
EA: Now, on the date of this event, the head of the familyyou know, Asaba has various families.  The heads of each family sent a message that they shouldall males should come out to welcome the federal troops, to welcome them.
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00:10:43.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:10:50.7
EA: So, this led to a fanfare.  They all came out with their regalia, well-dressed, and then dancing, as instructed, to welcome the federal troops.
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00:11:5.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:11:13.9
EA: At this juncture, when they all came out, they were instructed to assemble at a particular place.  And that place they were asked to come is calleda village in Asaba called Ogbeosowa.
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00:11:25.3
FCO: Ogbeosowa.
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00:11:26.8
EA: Mm-hm, a village in Asaba called Ogbeosowa.  They were all asked to assemble there.  And all of them were coming from different directions, marching towards that particular destination.
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00:11:36.3
EB: Does he have any idea or estimation of how many people were there?
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00:11:40.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:11:46.5
FCO: Nearly the whole Asaba.
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00:11:50.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
86
00:11:54.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:12:14.9
EA: At that timeat that point in time, I observed as they were dancing, people were dancing, I saw the soldiers, you know, setting their guns, their machine guns.
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00:12:25.5
FCO: Machine gun.
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00:12:26.1
EA: Just setting them up.
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00:12:28.8
FO: Does he remember how many they were setting up?
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00:12:30.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:12:33.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:12:34.1
EA: There were so many.
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00:12:34.7
FCO: There were many.
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00:12:36.7
FO: And they would be around this square?
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00:12:39.0
FCO: Uh-huh, just surrounding the people.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:12:55.0
EB: People were dancing in the square?
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00:12:56.2
FCO: Uh-huh.
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00:12:56.9
EA: So in the square they were all dancing.
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00:12:58.0
FCO: All dancing.
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00:12:59.0
EA: All dancing in the square.
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00:12:59.9
FCO: Just coming in.
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00:12:59.9
EA: Near where they were setting their machine guns
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00:13:3.6
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
105
00:13:5.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
106
00:13:6.5
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
107
00:13:7.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
108
00:13:10.9
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
109
00:13:11.6
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:13:13.5
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:13:14.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:13:21.5
EA: When they all came out, I was among them that came out, and I was observing.  They were dancing, but I wasnt part of those who were dancing.  So I was just standing and watching, because I was a little smaller then, but I can remember all the events.
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00:13:35.7
FO: Were those dancingcould they also see the machine guns being set up?
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00:13:39.1
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:13:42.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:13:47.1
EA: They saw them, but somehow they couldnt have known their motive, cause they were all setting the machine guns up.  They couldnt have known their motive.  Like he saw, so also others saw.
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00:13:57.6
EB: What did he think at that time?  What did he think was going to happen?
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00:14:2.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:14:6.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:14:14.4
EA: When I saw the machine gun being set up, I started having a feeling that there might be a problem.  I was having a feeling that there might be a problem, but that feeling is not something that I could really define now.  But I have that feeling that something may happen.
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00:14:31.1
FO: That they were going to
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00:14:31.1
EA: Yes, mm-hm.
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00:14:34.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:14:44.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:14:53.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:14:56.2
EA: Both male and female were all dancing.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:15:7.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:15:13.6
EA: As they were dancing, at the point they asked everybody to stop, then they now selectedin fact, they asked all the women [to go to] one side, and they now move the men [to] one side.  They further divided them into sections: male, female.
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00:15:30.9
FO: Could you ask him how the people responded when they were being asked to
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00:15:33.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:15:33.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:15:57.7
EA: Okay.  At the time they separated them, theyall of them were still dancing while they were being separated.  So perhaps they felt it is one of the, you know, processes of welcoming them: women this way, men this way.  And they were all in joyful mode, all dancing, without any premonition of any event about to occur.
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00:16:19.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:16:23.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:16:37.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:16:41.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:16:43.5
FCO: The highest, uh
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00:16:44.9
EA: Seventy?
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00:16:45.6
FCO: Uh-huh, seventy, eighty, sixty, forty.
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00:16:52.6
EA: Now, amongst those males dancing, after separation, there are ages ranging from eighty, seventy, sixty, forty, down the ladder.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:17:6.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:17:9.0
EA: Good.  Now, there were male children who were there, but the male children were separated to join the women.
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00:17:17.0
EB: So, what was the youngest?
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00:17:19.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:17:29.9
FCO: At least, uh, something, twelve years, thirteen.
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00:17:34.0
EA: Between twelve and thirteen.
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00:17:35.8
FO: AndIm sorry, but he didnt witness any acts of violence beforeup to this point?
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00:17:42.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:17:48.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:17:50.6
EA: There was no act of violence at the time they were dancing.
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00:17:53.4
FCO: Dancing.
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00:17:54.2
EA: And even after they were separated, they were still dancing, but the males were dancing separately, females dancing separately.  For the males, the ageslike I said before: eighty, seventy, sixty, forty.   (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:13.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:38.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:43.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:45.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:47.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:51.4
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:53.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:18:59.2
EA: Okay.  Now, afteras they were dancing, at that point in time, they now stopped the dance.  All the womenthey now surrounded the men and started firing, killing everybody that was in that particular circle.  They were all together, and they started firing indiscriminately.
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00:19:20.7
FO: And the women had been
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00:19:22.4
EA: The women had been separated, so the womenimmediately they started firing, and the women started crying and shouting.
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00:19:27.2
FO: The women could see them?
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00:19:28.0
EA: Yes.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:19:29.9
FCO: Mm-hm.
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00:19:30.4
EA: And the women watched as these people were being killed.  It happened in their presence.  Then, they started crying.  There was pandemonium, and they started running from different directions, shouting.  Then, at that time when this was taking place, I immediatelywhen I saw the killing going on, I then sneaked away and ran to my village.
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00:19:58.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:20:3.7
EA: While I was running to my village, I was shouting.  As I was going, I was shouting at Asaba, Everybody should go get backthere are people are being killed where theyre dancing, people are being killed where theyre dancing.  Everybody, dont come out.  Go back to your home.  Go back to your home.  And at that period in time, people were getting ready.  I saw people coming out to go.  They were going, while I was now asking them to go back.  This is what is happeningthis is the situation.  People are being killed at the area where theyre dancing.
169
00:20:38.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
170
00:20:43.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
171
00:20:44.8
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
172
00:20:45.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:20:46.1
EA: This thing happened at a village called Ogbeosowa
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00:20:50.1
FCO: Ogbeosowa.
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00:20:51.6
EA: in Asaba.
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00:20:52.3
FCO: In Asaba.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:20:57.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:20:59.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:21:9.3
EA: So when I gotwhen I eventually arrived to my village, on the way I was telling those who were going, and they were running back.  I got to the village and informed my father, and my father immediately sent the information out that everybody should find a way to hide themselves.  So they all started running to different places.
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00:21:28.2
FO: How did peoplewhen he was running to his village telling them that this was happening and people were coming out, how did they react?  Did they believe him?  Did they
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00:21:38.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:21:50.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:21:52.6
EA: Immediately I inform them.  They all run back.
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00:21:54.9
FCO: Run back.
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00:21:55.5
EA: Immediately.  Instantly.  They run back.
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00:21:58.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:22:1.1
EA: So the news spread that Asaba people are being killed by the same federal troops that were being welcomed.  They are now killing the people who came to welcome them.  So they all started running back.
188
00:22:13.9
EB: How far is it from where the killing happened to his village?
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00:22:18.3
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
190
00:22:29.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
191
00:22:40.0
EA: It is about 200 meters.
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00:22:43.6
EB: What was the name of his village?
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00:22:44.5
EA: The village?
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00:22:45.9
EB: What was the name of his village, yes.
195
00:22:47.4
EA: Ogbeagueze.
196
00:22:49.0
EB: Could you spell that?
197
00:22:49.9
EA: Ogbeagueze.  I can write it for you.  Ogbeagueze is the name of his village, which is about 250 meters.
198
00:23:6.0
EB: Oh, so not far.
199
00:23:7.0
EA: No, not at all.  Asaba is not far.  In those days, the town is very small.  Never mind that it is expanded now.  Very small village at that time.
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00:23:7.0
EB: Can you talk about, then, what happened later?  Did he go back?  Did he hear more?  What happened after?
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00:23:20.3
EA: Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
202
00:23:27.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
203
00:23:34.4
EA: When I alerted everyone and my father instructed that everybody should leave, we all then ran into the bush.  We ran to the bush where we have our farms, the bush where we have farms.  We ran to the place.  (Speaking in Igbo)
204
00:23:54.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
205
00:23:59.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
206
00:24:0.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
207
00:24:4.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
208
00:24:8.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo) Eighty.
209
00:24:11.3
EA: At this point in time, my father was eighty years.  Eighty years.  (Speaking in Igbo)
210
00:24:18.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
211
00:24:27.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
212
00:24:37.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
213
00:24:45.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
214
00:24:57.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
215
00:25:0.8
EA: Anyway, during this period my father didnt attend that particular reception.  He was at home.  For some reasons known to him, he couldnt attend.  He was at home.  Now, give your fathers reaction.  (Speaking in Igbo)
216
00:25:19.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
217
00:25:20.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
218
00:25:23.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
219
00:25:31.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
220
00:25:32.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
221
00:25:38.3
EA: When I found my father and my father asked all of us to leave, he remained at home.  He was then eighty years, and he had his double barrel gun.  I said he should leave, that nothing would happen to happen to him, that if they come, he is going to respond with his double barrel gun anyway. (laughs)  So they all run to the bush while the father remained at home.  (Speaking in Igbo)
222
00:26:0.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
223
00:26:2.8
EA: My father died a natural death.
224
00:26:4.3
FCO: Natural death.  (Speaking in Igbo)
225
00:26:8.7
EA: He died in 1977.  Natural death.
226
00:26:11.6
EB: How long did they stay in the bush?
227
00:26:15.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
228
00:26:22.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo) maybe six to seven months before the Biafran (Speaking in Igbo)
229
00:26:46.9
EA: Anyway, inside the bush at our farm, we were there for about seven months.
230
00:26:52.4
EB: The whole family?
231
00:26:53.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
232
00:26:54.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
233
00:26:55.3
EA: The entire family, except their father.  Including your mother?
234
00:26:58.4
FCO: Yes.
235
00:26:59.0
EA: Yes, including their mother.
236
00:27:0.0
FO: You mentioned something about Biafra?
237
00:27:1.5
EA: Yes, that at the time they were in the bush, the Biafran soldiers eventually saw them there, met them in the bush.  But nothing happened to them.
238
00:27:11.6
EB: What was his fathers occupation, profession?
239
00:27:14.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
240
00:27:17.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
241
00:27:19.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
242
00:27:21.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo) Nigerian Railway.
243
00:27:22.9
EA: My father was a civil servant, but at that point and time, was already retired.
244
00:27:28.7
EB: So he didnt see what happened to the people who were killedthe bodies or anything
245
00:27:34.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo) Thats his father?  Or himself?
246
00:27:36.7
FO: (inaudible)
247
00:27:37.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
248
00:27:41.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
249
00:27:47.0
EA: As they were shooting, I saw people falling down.  They were all falling down, and I realized they were being killed.  I saw it and I have tothat was when I started my running backward to go.  A lot of those had not yet been there, and getting ready to come there, so that they had to have to be there.
250
00:28:6.3
EB: Did he lose any family members or friends?
251
00:28:10.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
252
00:28:22.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
253
00:28:34.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
254
00:28:42.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
255
00:28:51.6
EA: Actually, Ogbeagueze is a little bit far from the scene of this event.  While the event was happening, they were preparing.  But those who were most hit are those who were within the neighborhood where the event took place: they had already gotten there earlier, while those who live quite a little bit far from the scene were getting ready to come.  So Iit was because I ran to the place that my brothers, who ought have been there, getting ready to go there, and some of them were already on their way.  When they heard me shouting, they all ran back.  And when I was shouting, others were equally shouting.  So the news starting spreading, so they all started running back.  That was why I couldnt loseI didnt lose any of my own immediate brothers.  But at least I lost most of my brothers who areyou know, Asaba is close-knit, so his brothers brothers brothers, you know?
256
00:29:40.6
EB: So he savedhe saved their lives.
257
00:29:42.4
EA: Yeah.  He saved the lives of his immediate family.  But other extended families, he lost his members who are from extended families.
258
00:29:52.5
EB: Could he talk a little bit about thewhat the effect on the community of thisof what happened?  How did it change Asaba, to have something like this happen?
259
00:30:3.5
EA: You know, at that time when we were lookingat that time?
260
00:30:6.5
EB: Uh-huh.
261
00:30:7.1
FO: Yeah.
262
00:30:8.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
263
00:30:22.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
264
00:30:31.3
EA: In fact, my people were dispirited, they were downcast, and they lost hope.  They were despaired and they were hopeless.  Confusedcompletely confused and embarrassed, because they had never seen anything like that before.  They were confused, and the entire village was like a ghost town.  People were now mourning.
265
00:30:58.8
EB: This morning, Mr. Uraih told us about another killing that took place in March of 1968, when people came totroops came back and killed peopletook people to Saint Patricks College, but also killed a lot of people.  Those who remained in the town were killed.  Does he havedoes he recall this or was he
266
00:31:22.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
267
00:31:31.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
268
00:31:31.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
269
00:32:17.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
270
00:32:18.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
271
00:32:19.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
272
00:32:22.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
273
00:32:25.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
274
00:32:43.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
275
00:32:45.9
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
276
00:32:49.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
277
00:32:51.1
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
278
00:33:5.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
279
00:33:6.4
EA: Okay.  Youll recall that I earlier said that we were asked to evacuate to the farms.
280
00:33:15.5
EB: Uh-huh.
281
00:33:16.6
EA: We lived there for about seven months.  This event happened in October.  Then, eventually, we all returned back home, believing that everything was calm and it was quiet.  Later on, we are all again, in another guise, asked to move to Saint Patricks College.  Saint Patricks College is (inaudible) college within the town, not too far from his village.  We all went there, again, and when we got there, again
282
00:33:49.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
283
00:33:57.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
284
00:33:59.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
285
00:34:6.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
286
00:34:7.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
287
00:34:9.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
288
00:34:10.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
289
00:34:12.2
EA: So when we are all asked to move to SPC, we all went there.  You will recall also, at that time, point in time, Asaba, we did not have these corrugated roofing sheets.  We have thatchedmost of the houses were thatch roofed, you know, houses.  You know, thatched roofs.  So, as we got to the SPC, we were all there, only to see smoke everywhere as we look back.  The whole town was in smoke everywhere, giving the impression that the town was now under fire.  There were burnthouses were being burned by the same military, federal troops.  (Speaking in Igbo)
290
00:34:55.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
291
00:34:56.2
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
292
00:35:0.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
293
00:35:4.1
EA: So immediately, we saw the smoke while we are at Saint Patricks.  We saw smoke everywhere.  We all ran back to our various villages.  (Speaking in Igbo)
294
00:35:14.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
295
00:35:27.1
EA: So at the time we got home, we gotI observed that my own fathers house was already burned to ashes, except the kitchen.  It was unaffected.  That was where we temporarily relocated.
296
00:35:41.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
297
00:35:43.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
298
00:35:44.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
299
00:35:46.0
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
300
00:35:47.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
301
00:35:48.1
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
302
00:35:49.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
303
00:35:50.6
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
304
00:35:51.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
305
00:35:56.3
EA: Okay.  At that point in time, my father was very oldabout eighty yearscould not move.  So he was there when his house was being burned.  There was nothing he could docould have done in the circumstance.  But because the kitchen was saved, all of them had to move into the kitchen.
306
00:36:14.6
EB: Did people die in the town while
307
00:36:17.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
308
00:36:21.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
309
00:36:38.2
EA: So when we came back, we saw corpses littered everywhere, killed by these federal troops.  (Speaking in Igbo)
310
00:36:48.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
311
00:36:48.8
EA: Even women were included.  I saw women corpses and male corpses.  At this point in time, the killing was indiscriminate.
312
00:36:58.9
FO: Men and women?
313
00:36:59.2
EA: Men and women.  Whoever they found available, were then killed
314
00:37:2.6
EB: Whoever remained in the town.
315
00:37:3.6
EA: Who had remained in the town.
316
00:37:8.8
FO: Do you have any questions based on
317
00:37:15.0
EA: You know, as we were going, I was asking some questions (laughs)
318
00:37:17.1
FO: Yeah, thats
319
00:37:17.7
EA: So I was speaking about some areas that should be relevant to the issue.
320
00:37:23.4
FO: But you dont have any specific questions based on?
321
00:37:26.3
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
322
00:37:30.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
323
00:37:40.7
EA: So when we came back, the corpses we found, we started burying them.  Those corpses (Speaking in Igbo)
324
00:37:54.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
325
00:38:6.0
EA: At the time that we came back from the bush where we ran to, we were then informed that those corpses were buried using the Caterpillar.  It was a mass grave.  The soldiers dug cause they were all smelling, so they have to, you know, bury all of them together.
326
00:38:22.8
FO: This is the killing on the seventh.
327
00:38:23.8
EA: On the seventh.  Then, the one that happenedthe second one that happened, they metthey were littered everywhere, then they have to start burying them themselves.
328
00:38:33.7
FO: I have one question about October 7.  He saw the crowd before the machine guns opened up.  Can he estimateits an estimatehow many men he saw in the crowd that were being machine gunned?
329
00:38:48.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
330
00:39:2.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
331
00:39:13.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
332
00:39:13.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
333
00:39:28.9
EA: From my estimate of those I saw that fell, not the total of those that were killedbecause I didnt see all that were killed.  I saw the ones that were being shot where they were falling down.  It cant be less than seventy.
334
00:39:43.1
FO: Those would be the ones who were closer to him?
335
00:39:44.9
EA: Yes.
336
00:39:45.5
FO: That he could see?
337
00:39:46.4
EA: Yes, that he could see, because he was not there when they eventually killed everybody.
338
00:39:50.0
FO: He started running.
339
00:39:50.9
EA: He had to run.
340
00:39:52.3
FO: Okay.
341
00:39:53.0
EA: But from what he observed, those who were falling were more than that number.
342
00:39:56.8
FO: But the total number of people standing in the square was
343
00:39:59.4
EA: Now, the total number, according to him, is that there are so many.
344
00:40:2.5
FO: Right.
345
00:40:3.1
EA: It was virtually half of the village that had already gone there, so it was like a public field.
346
00:40:8.7
FO: Uh-huh.
347
00:40:9.4
EA: If you could see what you find in public fieldjust like that.
348
00:40:14.8
EB: When he came backhas he lived in Asaba ever since?
349
00:40:17.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
350
00:40:27.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
351
00:40:30.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
352
00:40:31.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
353
00:40:49.1
EA: So whenafter the second incident, we have to now move back to the bush.  From there, we have to relocate to a neighboring village called Oko. (Speaking in Igbo)
354
00:41:3.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
355
00:41:5.8
EA: From there, from that Oko, we now move into Biafra proper.
356
00:41:12.4
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
357
00:41:13.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
358
00:41:15.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
359
00:41:21.5
EA: So in Biafra, a village called (inaudible).  That was where we stayed until the war ended in 1970.
360
00:41:30.7
EB: And then they came back to Asaba
361
00:41:31.9
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
362
00:41:33.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
363
00:41:33.8
EA: Then we returned back about 1970.  We returned back to Asaba, 1970.
364
00:41:37.5
EB: Has he been here always since then?
365
00:41:39.4
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
366
00:41:41.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
367
00:41:42.7
EA: We arrivedwe returned to Asaba in seventy [1970] and ever since, I have lived in this town till date.
368
00:41:48.2
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
369
00:41:50.4
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
370
00:42:1.0
EA: So I schooled in Asaba and the neighboring town, which is about two, four, five kilometers away from Asaba, which is Onitsha.
371
00:42:9.7
EB: Onitsha.
372
00:42:10.2
FO: Onitsha. (to EB) Do you have a question about memorializing
373
00:42:17.5
EB: Oh, yeah.  Uh, could you ask him if hewhat do you think should happen now about the memory of what happened?  What would he like to see happen?
374
00:42:29.1
FO: How should
375
00:42:29.9
EB: How should it be memorialized?
376
00:42:32.1
FO: Well, should the event be memorialized?
377
00:42:35.1
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
378
00:42:53.5
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
379
00:43:17.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
380
00:43:27.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
381
00:43:34.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
382
00:43:34.3
EA: (laughs) (Speaking in Igbo)
383
00:43:36.5
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
384
00:43:36.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
385
00:43:38.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
386
00:43:39.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
387
00:43:41.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
388
00:43:42.8
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
389
00:43:43.9
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
390
00:43:47.2
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
391
00:43:57.2
EA: Anyway, he is saying that, you know, Asaba people are very spiritual people, and that in addition to prayers that they usually do every year, which they want to continue, they will want a monument to be erected in the memory of these people, and they will want it equally celebrated all over the world as an annual history of the Asaba people.  And secondly, the grave where these people diedthe gravesomething should be done there to immortalize all of them, so that that place could be a resource center where people all over the world can come and say, Oh, this is where those people, you know, lie resting in peace.  Thats exactly what they want.
392
00:44:49.9
FO: Thank you.  Thank you very much.
393
00:44:54.3
EB: Is there anything else you would like to say?
394
00:44:55.5
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
395
00:45:20.3
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
396
00:45:30.3
IU: Asaba.
397
00:45:31.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
398
00:45:33.8
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
399
00:45:37.3
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
400
00:46:0.9
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
401
00:46:28.0
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
402
00:46:29.7
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
403
00:46:32.7
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
404
00:46:38.0
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
405
00:46:48.1
EA: (Speaking in Igbo)
406
00:46:49.1
FCO: (Speaking in Igbo)
407
00:46:52.1
EA: He was trying to explain one or two things, perhaps, some of the event that took place that he was told.  Along the road, very close to where these people died, they were killed and buried, some were killed and they were asked to dig before they were shot dead.  So you would dig, another person will cover, that person will dig his own, and will cover.  That was how some of them were equally killed.  Unfortunately, in that same place, there is a house that has been erected there.  That is what he was trying to explain.  Other than that, I dont think he has
408
00:47:31.5
FO: Its an account thats beenyeah.  We heard.  Is there anything he wants to ask, and if theres anything he wants to?  Okay.  Well, thank you very much.
409
00:47:44.7
EA: Okay.
410
00:47:45.2
FO: Thank you.
411
00:47:45.7
EB: Thank you.  We appreciate your help.



PAGE 1

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