Invasion of Aba
|Invasion of Aba|
|Part of Nigerian Civil War|
|Commanders and leaders|
Cpt. Barbara †
|Casualties and losses|
The Invasion of Aba(June 16 - October 14, 1969)was a military operation between Nigerian government forces and Biafran rebel troops.
In August 1968 Aba was invaded by Nigerian soldiers led by Murtala Muhammad. The Biafrans were able to fend off the Nigerians for about a month until August 28 when Aba was taken by Muhammad's men. When Carl Gustaf von Rosen's Biafran troops were able to recapture Owerri in April 1969 in opened an advantage for Biafrans to retake some of the cities they had lost in some of their previous battle with the Nigerian army. In May 1969 Nigerian troops occupied and captured Oguta. This was an advantage for the Nigerians due to its proximity to Owerri. In May 1969 the Biafran 12th Battalion led by Col.Omorowa invaded Delta State but were pushed back at Utagba when they set an oil field ablaze. In late May 1969 Nigerian head of state Yakubu Gowon replaced Nigerian general Murtala Muhammad with Olusegun Obasanjo and also replaced Gen.Benjamin Adekunle with Mohammed Shuwa.
On June 16, 1969 Col.Omorowa invaded Port Harcourt in an attempt to capture the Port Harcourt-Aba Road. Capt.Barbara's men counterattacked Omorowa's men with the Nigerian 86th Battalion. On June 24 Omorowa and his men captured Port Harcourt along with the Port Harcourt-Aba Road. On June 26 Mohammed Shuwa's men invaded Port Harcourt and were able to retake it in less than a day. The next day on June 27 Ogbu Ogi's men got into a firefight with Shuwa's men. Ogi's men retreated and set fire to the oil fields on Bonny Island and in the areas surrounding Port Harcourt.
After fleeing Port Harcourt the Ogi met with Alan Atu and discussed matters of invading Aba. On October 14 within only a few hours the Biafrans were able to Capture Aba. Shuwa and Obasanjo's men soon followed and were met by heavy gun fire from Atu's men. After 3 days of heavy gun fighting the Nigerian 86th Battalion broke through the Biafran line and were able to capture Omorowa's 12th Battalion. On October 18 Obasanjo's men crossed the Aba River and surrounded Aba. With the roads surrounding Aba heavily mined Obasanjo's men decided to march through the surrounding countryside with their newly acquired tanks. On October 19 Capt.Barbara was fatally shot while crossing through a field near Aba. Obasanjo's men laid siege to Aba by firing mortars and rockets into the city. On October 19 Obasanjo's men invaded the city taking it while also capturing the Biafran 15th Division.
On December 24, 1969 the Biafran capital Umuahia was captured by Benjamin Adekunle's troops. On January 11, 1970 the new Biafran capital of Owerri was captured as well. On January 15 the Biafra officially surrendered to Nigeria.