Government Official Denies Report That Israel Sent Captured Russian Arms to Biafra

A Government spokesman today categorically denied that Israel sent captured Russian arms to Biafra during its two year war of secession with Nigeria. That allegation was made by an un-named source at the United Nations yesterday. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said it was a “transparent attempt” by the Arabs to inject further disruptive elements into the somewhat strained relations between Israel and Nigeria. The allegation was picked up by UN correspondents and widely reported in the world press as coming from a “reliable source.” The claim was that Israel sent to Biafra at least two plane loads of Soviet-made weapons captured from the Arabs in the June, 1967 Six-Day War. According to the source, Israel had two motives–to bolster the Biafrans who are mainly Christian, against Nigeria which is largely Moslem and a “potential ally” of the Arab states; and to discredit the Soviet Union.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said Israel neither sold nor gave weapons, Soviet or otherwise, to Biafra. But Israel, along with many other nations and international relief organizations, sent food and medical supplies to Biafra through the International Red Cross. This has led to a pronounced hostility on the part of Nigerian authorities toward Israel and other countries that supplied humanitarian aid to the Biafrans, since Biafra’s surrender last month. But there has been no breach in diplomatic relations between Israel and Nigeria.

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