Civil Wars In Western Africa: Nigeria, Sierra Leone

2111 words - 9 pages

Since the establishment of states and republics, there has always been conflict between groups inhabiting said states, which is a layman’s definition of civil war. The scholarly definition of a Civil war is a war between organized groups within a state. Since the end of WWII, there has been a total of 122 Civil wars ranging from the Greek Civil war in 1946 to the Syrian civil war that is happening as of today. A civil war is not an entity seen only in the underdeveloped countries of the world, and superpowers like the United States and Russia have experienced civil wars in their past. Due to the fact that conflicts do happen in states, there are some criteria’s a conflict in a state has to ...view middle of the document...

And by breaking down the events that took place and exploring the causes of both civil wars, I will try and deduce the similarities and differences, if any, both countries had leading up to their respective civil wars.
Historically, West Africa is a zone were there has been a plethora of conflicts. Colonization was not helpful to the region, but ever since the Europeans left, the situation there has barely improved. West Africa has become one of the most violent places on earth and interestingly there has been a minute amount of conflict between states in the region. The majority of the conflicts that occurred, have been civil wars, and they have been some of the most brutal wars with numerous groups attempting to wipe out other groups. The region before getting colonized did not have any boarders, but with the European countries trying to set up governments, they drew up boarders with the end goal of satisfying their own needs. Once they left, the countries created included people of diverse tribes. Which lead to the tribes wanting control over the new countries that have been established, and in conjunction with total failures of democracies in West African countries, civil wars arise.
The Nigerian civil war which is also referred to as the Biafra War started on July 6, 1967 and ended January 1970. The cause of the civil war was due to the fact that the people who lived in the southern part of Nigeria wanted to secede from Nigeria and form their sovereign nation which was known as Republic of Biafra. A mixture of economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural tension between the Hausas who are based in the north and the Igbos who are situated in the south-east sparked the debacle in Nigeria. Nigeria, similar to other African nations, were subject to the mapping of colonial powers who neglected to take into consideration the ethnic, religious, and linguistic differences of Nigeria. With nearly 300 different ethnic and cultural groups in a nation, a civil war is bound to happen. As shown in the Collier-Hoeffler model, “various factors contributing to the risk of civil war rise increase with population size” (Collier, Hoeffler). Although Nigeria consists of many ethnic groups, the three main groups are the Igbos who inhabited the southeast, the Hausas who inhabited the northern part of Nigeria, and the Yoruba’s who occupied the southwest. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu who was the military governor of the southeast alluded to the fact that after the coup lead by Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon to bring power back to the north, the southeastern people were being killed in grave numbers which gave Colonel Ojukwu ammunition to persuade the Igbos to rally behind his back in support. Igbos all around the north and west started leaving to go back to the south because they were being persecuted and that was where they felt safe. General Yakubu Gowon however expounded on how he was trying to keep a unified Nigeria and stop the south-eastern faction of Nigeria to secede. On...

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