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Nigerian Civil War Through The Eyes Of A Child

Soldiers in the Nigerian Civil War

BY EMMANUEL NWACHUKWU

I was with my family in our house at 9th mile, Enugu when we heard explosions. My mother who was breaking palm kernels with me and my siblings grabbed my hands with screams of “Ewo, Ewo”. Despite the sharp pain I felt from her grip, it soon disappeared as my own heart was also racing. My father, a carpenter whose shop was nearby, ran to the house and called out to my other siblings, our hearts racing, the transistor radio off. I watched my mother grab some of her wrapper and my father shout at her in confusion. “Fire,” I heard from a distance, the continuous rattle of guns. I was eight and I understood fear but what I saw that day, I cannot describe.

I quickly grabbed one of the books that my father had recently bought for me but dropped it after I realised that I only had one option: to take the book or save some kernels in my trouser. “Chi m,” my mother had started to say when she checked the window and saw some of our neighbours’ homes in a distance being set ablaze. “Nwanyi, me chi onu gi, ogini ne me gi,” my father screamed at my mother, ordering her to shut her mouth.

I, gripped with fear, looked at my brother who was clinging onto my father as if his life depended on it. Fortunately, there was a bush nearby. The bush was often a cause of quarrel between our neighbours and my parents. Once in a while, we would see animals and insects come out of it. Although my father would complain about the bush path, this was where he said we would use.

I quickly grabbed one of the books that my father had recently bought for me but dropped it after I realised that I only had one option: to take the book or save some kernels in my trouser. “Chi m,” my mother had started to say when she checked the window and saw some of our neighbours’ homes in a distance being set ablaze. “Nwanyi, me chi onu gi, ogini ne me gi,” my father screamed at my mother, ordering her to shut her mouth.

I, gripped with fear, looked at my brother who was clinging onto my father as if his life depended on it. Fortunately, there was a bush nearby. The bush was often a cause of quarrel between our neighbours and my parents. Once in a while, we would see animals and insects come out of it. Although my father would complain about the bush path, this was where he said we would use.

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