• Short Summary

    THE 18 ITALIAN-EMPLOYED OILMEN RELEASED BY THE BIAFRANS AFTER BEING ARRESTED AND SENTENCED TO DEATH MADE A SPECIAL STOPOVER IN THE IVORY COAST CAPITAL OF ABIDJAN LAST SATURDAY (JUNE 7) ON THEIR WAY BACK TO ITALY.

  • Description

    THE 18 ITALIAN-EMPLOYED OILMEN RELEASED BY THE BIAFRANS AFTER BEING ARRESTED AND SENTENCED TO DEATH MADE A SPECIAL STOPOVER IN THE IVORY COAST CAPITAL OF ABIDJAN LAST SATURDAY (JUNE 7) ON THEIR WAY BACK TO ITALY. PURPOSE OF THE STOPOVER WAS TO PERSONALLY THANK PRESIDENT FELIX HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY, WHO WAS ONE OF THE AFRICAN LEADERS INSTRUMENTAL IN SECURING THE MEN'S RELEASE.

    THE MEN -- 14 ITALIANS, THREE WEST GERMANS AND A LEBANESE WHO WORKED FOR THE AGIP OIL COMPANY -- ARRIVED FROM LIBREVILLE, GABON, AND WERE GREETED AT THE AIRPORT BY IVORY COAST ARMED FORCES MINISTER, M. MBAHIA BLE, WHO TOOK PART IN THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE BIAFRANS FOR THEIR RELEASE.

    THE PRESIDENT OF BOTH GABON AND THE IVORY COAST, TWO OF THE FOUR AFRICAN COUNTRIES WHICH RECOGNISE BIAFRA, HAD INTERCEDED WITH THE BIAFRANS TO SAVE THE TECHNICIANS LIVES AFTER THEY WERE SENTENCED TO FACE A FIRING SQUAD FRO ANTI-BIAFRAN ACTIVITIES.

    WITH THE RELEASED MEN WAS SIGNOR MARIO PEDINI, ITALY'S UNDER-SECRETARY FROM FOREIGN AFFAIRS, WHO HAD BEEN SENT FROM ROME TO DISCUSS THEIR FATE WITH BIAFRAN LEADER, GENERAL ODUMEGWU OJUKWU.

    THE TECHNICIANS' ARREST AND THE DEATH SENTENCES IMPOSED ON THEM TRIGGERED AN INTERNATIONAL OUTCRY FOR THEIR RELEASE WITH POPE ADDING HIS VOICE.

    GENERAL OJUKWU WAS REPORTED TO HAVE CONNECTED "SO MUCH FUSS ABOUT 29 WHITE MEN, BUT WHAT HAVE THEY SAID ABOUT MILLIONS OF AFRICANS."
    THE 18 MEN WERE CAPTURED DURING A BIAFRAN COMMANDO RAID ON AN OIL DRILLING SITE NEAR KWALE, IN MIDWESTERN NIGERIA. ELEVEN OTHER MEN WERE KILLED IN THE RAID.

    AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RECEPTION, SIGNOR PEDINI SAID SEVERAL OF THE TECHNICIANS HAVE DECIDED TO ADOPT A BIAFRAN CHILD. HE GAVE NO FURTHER DETAILS OF THE PLANNED ADOPTION BUT ADDED SOME OF THE MEN WERE READY TO RETURN TO AFRICA TO CONTRIBUTE TO AFRO-EUROPEAN COLLABORATION.

    SIGNOR PEDINI SAID THE INTERCESSION OF PRESIDENT HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY AND PRESIDENT ALBERT BERNARD BONGO OF GABON FOR THE OILMEN'S RELEASE WOULD BE "INSCRIBED IN THE ROLLS OF FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN EUROPE AND AFRICA."
    PRESIDENT HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY TOLD THE FREED OILMEN THAT GENERAL OJUKWU AND THE BIAFRAN PEOPLE HAD GIVEN THE WORLD A GREAT LESSON IN HUMANITY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAE144CW6TFBLMSBM22XKU4WKPU
    Media URN:
    VLVAE144CW6TFBLMSBM22XKU4WKPU
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    11/06/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:19:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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