In Remembrance Of The Fallen
Due to the historic blackout put in place by successive Nigerian governments to erase every memory of Biafra, many Biafrans are oblivious of the various contributions of some foreign soldiers who fought for Biafra.
During the Biafra-Nigeria War many western and Arabian governments covertly and overtly supported the Nigerian Government as they prosecuted the genocidal war against Biafrans. Miffed by the unabashed actions of their governments, some western soldiers declared their willingness to fight for Biafra during the 3 year war.
As Biafrans all over the world have begun to observe the Biafra Memorial Day to day, the profile of some of the prominent soldiers who took sides with truth, are presented below.
Captain Roger Faulques, a Frenchman was the leader of a contingent of European soldiers numbering about 100 strong men. Faulques served in the Congo before arriving in Biafra as an advance party for a further 100 strong contingent of French mercenaries. While Britain was supporting Nigeria and providing it with both military hardware and political advice, France was throwing its weight behind Biafra.
Faulques was an ex Legionnaire and Paratrooper and one of the few French paratroopers to survive a Vietnam prison Camp. He was an expert in counter revolutionary warfare. He went to Katanga with a group of French officers and later became the commander of Mercenaries in Katanga in 1961.
Maj. Marc Goosens was a Belgian Regular Army Officer. In 1964 he went to the Congo as Belgian’s Chief Adviser with the rank of Colonel assisting the Armée nationale congolaise (ANC).
In 1968 he fought with Biafra Army with rank of Major under the French Mercenary leader Robert Faulques, Maj. Marc Goosens was killed on 29 November 1968, when Biafran Army attempt to retake the town of Onitsha.Lt. Col. Rolf Steiner fought in Biafra under Robert Faulques, who made a name for himself. He was promoted initially to the rank of Major and later to Lt. Colonel, in charge of planning.
Steiner was born on the 3rd March 1933 in Munich, twenty-seven days before Hitler came to power.
He joined the French Foreign Legion by signing on in the West German French zone obtaining the rank of Sergeant. He saw active service in Indo-China. Steiner was a member of the foreign Legion that Parachuted into the Suez in 1956 during the French, British and Israel attempted seizure of the Suez Canal from Egyptian control. Later he went to Algeria with the Legion, fighting the unrest there.
But he became involved in the anti-de Gaulle OAS terrorist movement. Becoming a member of the abortive Generals rebellion against the French President Charles de Gaulle.
Rolf Steiner had success in the field and was given the responsibility of organizing the 4th Biafra commando. Brigade as a Lt Colonel His penchant for justice made him to be twice demoted from the rank of Sergeant in Indo-China because of alleged unruly behaviour despite being described as a first-class soldier. In 1961 he went to the Congo and was a member of Robert Faulques 1st REP in Katanga, after which he returned to France.
Steiner later became Tshombe’s personal bodyguard after the latter’s exile to Spain. But lucky for him he was not on board the light aircraft with Tshombe, when it was hijacked to Algeria, where Tshombe was imprisoned.
Steiner later joined Faulques to fight for Biafra. He enlisted into the Biafra army as a company commander. Steiner had success in the field and was given the responsibility of organizing the 4th Biafra commando Brigade as a Lt col.
On May 25, 1968 they led a successful mission against a federal Nigeria air field in Enugu destroying six Russia made bomber and fighter aircraft. He was renowned for having fought for the Biafrans without pay and serving long after most other European colleagues had left.
It’s May 30 again, the day Biafrans set aside in remembrance of the fallen heroes who chose to die on their feet rather than live on their knees. We remember the starvation of millions of Biafrans, our brave soldiers and uncelebrated heroes.
Ụfọdụ ndị Igbo are ashamed to join in the Biafra Remembrance Day because they don’t want their non-Igbo friends to tag them IPOB – proscribed group.
But, the same people write beautiful epistles in remembrance of the Rwandan genocide, and the German holocaust against Israelis, like they really care about humanity.
They do not understand that the enemy wants us to forget the past, erase the memory and continue to live in denial of our identity. You may live in denial and talk tongue-in-cheek, but when they return to have our heads again, they will remember you for who you are – Igbo – a threat that must be extinguished.I am not a member of IPOB (I wish I am, really).
I do not have to be one before I honour the men/boys/women/girls who risked it all to defend the Igbo nation, when the world turned blind eye to her plight.
I may have forgiven the Nigerian Army, but I will never forget. I remember.I learn from history. I will be weary of lies and a worn Nigerian faux unity in diversity. Unapologetically Biafran, I am.
Until the cause of this cancerous hatred is cured, the symptoms shall prevail.I shall forever remember. Ónyé ọ bụla m sị́ mụ chéfuo, ya chéfuokwa áhà ńnà yá. Udo.