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Bruce Mayrock, The 19-yr-old American Boy Who Set Himself Ablaze During the Biafran War to Attract Global Attention to Igbos



​A story has been told of a young American boy who sacrificed his life for the Biafran people during the Nigerian civil war.

Bianca Ojukwu, the widow to the late warlord, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, has revealed how a young American boy died to attract attention to the Biafran people.

She made the revelation while speaking about her late husband’s dying wishes.

Speaking at an event to mark the fifth year of Ojukwu’s demise in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the former beauty queen disclosed that the Biafran warlord prior to his death had urged her to fulfill three wishes out of which she has actualized two.

Bianca said Ojukwu’s dying wishes were that his body must be taken to Aba, Abia state before burial, erecting a monument in memory of a 19 year old American, Bruce Mayrock who died for Biafra, which she said would soon be met.

Bianca, however refused to reveal the third wish, promising to do so at the appropriate time.

Her words: “There are three things Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu asked me to do for him when he is dead. I have done one; the first is that he demanded that when he is dead, before he is buried, I should take his body to Aba. When I get to Aba, that I should place the coffin on the ground, touch the dust and sprinkle it on the coffin.

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“After this, we should bury him whenever we wish to. By the grace of God, I was able to do that.

“The second one is that before Dim Ojukwu died, he narrated the story of a young American boy named Bruce Mayrock. He told me that this young boy was 19 years old, a white American and University student who came from a wealthy family. During the Biafra war, Mayrock was too disturbed about the pictures of starving Biafran children and the genocide. He wrote letters to American senators and President, individuals, Christian organizations and the United Nations calling on them to come to the aid of the Biafran people. Mayrock lamented that the Biafrans were facing extermination.

“All these people even the United Nations could not do anything. To bring attention to the plight of suffering Biafrans, this boy went to the front of the United Nations building doused himself with gasoline, struck a match and set himself on fire. When they were chasing him to put away the fire he was running with the inferno. He ran until he collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and by midnight on 30th May 1966, he died. Ojukwu was humbled that a 19 year old boy sacrificed his life for a people thousand miles away that he never knew or met.

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“His parents were unhappy that he sacrificed himself but he had told his priest that it was the only way he could get attention from the United Nation to take notice and save dying Biafra people.

“Ojukwu demanded that when he is dead, the story be narrated to his children and when his son turns 19, that a little plot of land be gotten to erect a monument in honour of Bruce Mayrock who sacrificed his life for the people of Biafra. Today in America, many Igbo people regularly visit Mayrock’s grave to lay flowers and pray for him.”