BIAFRA HERO:BERNARD KOUCHNER’S MEDECINS SAN FRONTIERES

  • Lady Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu shared stories about some Biafra heroes in comemoration of the 50 years of the war
  • TellAfrica brings some of these heroes to your door step;
  • Meet BERNARD KOUCHNER

BERNARD KOUCHNER’S MEDECINS SAN FRONTIERES: BORN OF BIAFRA

During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970, the Nigerian military blocked the entire Biafra Territory to prevent food and medical supplies from coming in. At this time, France was one of the only major countries supportive of the Biafrans (the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States were supporting the Nigerian government), and the conditions within the blockade were unknown to the world.
A number of French doctors volunteered with the French Red Cross to work in hospitals and feeding centres in besieged Biafra. One of those doctors was Bernard Kouchner.

After entering the country, these volunteer doctors in addition to Biafran health workers and hospitals, were subjected to attacks by the Nigerian army, and witnessed civilians being murdered and starved by the blockading forces. The doctors publicly criticised the Nigerian government and even the Red Cross for their seemingly complicit behaviour.
These doctors concluded that a new aid organisation was needed that would ignore political/religious boundaries and prioritise the welfare of victims. An so it came to be that these doctors led by Bernard Kouchner founded Médecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) after their Biafra Experience in 1971, a medical NGO whose mission to this day remains the expansion of medical care across national boundaries irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. Bernard Kouchner in his later years became Foreign Minister Of France.

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