May 14 2020 | Radio Biafra
Remembering Corporal Nwafor, it was June 30, 1968. Nigeria and Biafra, were at war. The Nigerian government Federal troops were advancing to Onitsha from Enugu, shelling and firing from armoured tanks. At Ugwu Nwasike, Ogidi, about 20 kilometres to the commercial town, the overwhelmed Biafrans and Biafran soldiers were almost giving up when Corporal Nwafor hit the target.
Corporal Nwafor having articulated very well what the outcome would be if the enemies get to them fired the only anti-tank weapon available to the entire brigade, a 73mm bazooka and it hit an advancing Saladine. A second tank which tried to engage reverse gear fell into a ditch. The Biafran soldiers tried to retrieve the tanks from the Nigerian government Federal troops in a bloody fight that ensued. In the process, Corporal Nwafor, lost his life. Biafran soldiers got hold of the weapons of mass destruction in the Nigerian government Federal troops arsenal. The Saladine was named Corporal Nwafor.
Probably the first time an armoured tank would be named in the memory of a Non-Commissioned Officer. That battle earned the GOC of the Biafran 11th division, Co. Patrick Chiedu Amadi, promotion to the rank of a One-star general. Col. Conrad Nwawo, of 13th division was also promoted to the rank of Brigadier. Brigade commander, Major Linus Ohanehi, was overlooked. A memorial was held for Corporal Nwafor in Umuoji.
While service was going on, a Nigerian Air Force bomber appeared in the air. The priest looked up to God and asked everyone not to panic but remain inside. All but one man didn’t. He was the only one hit by a bomb. Biafran engineers had to work on Corporal Nwafor Saladine before it could go back to the battle field. From Umudike, headquarters of Research and Production [RAP] emerged a rebranded war machine.
When the hard vehicle came out, it was given to the 45th armoured battalion, commanded by Major Juventus Chijioke Ojukwu whose troops were based at St. Silas School, Umuahia. One remarkable thing about Corporal Nwafor Saladine was that the soldier who manned the Browning machine gun attached to it, was a 16-year-old school boy, Sasa Nwoke. He studied at Government Secondary School, Afikpo, but his academic curriculum was halted by the unfortunate civil war so he joined the Biafran army. The Ohafia lad joined the Biafra Army on January 29, 1968 and was identified as BA 61832.
Corporal Nwafor stands as a huge inspiration to our Youths of today who derives joy in worthless ventures. He, shall for ever be remembered, now and in the future. History shall not forget him and all who in one way or the other stood gallantly in defence of our land and freedom. Come 30th May 2020 the Indigenous People of Biafra will remember you – Corporal Nwafor for your tremendous courage and efforts making sure that the enemy must be stopped at all cost.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media