Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state (1967-1970) of the Ibo people in south-eastern Nigeria. The Christian Ibo were a majority in what was then the Eastern Region. They developed a strong separatist movement during the mid-1960s in response to the massacre of some 20,000 Ibo by Islamic Hausa and Fulani peoples, who then dominated the Nigerian federal government. Anticipating further violence and repression, the Eastern Region, led by Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, proclaimed its independence as the Republic of Biafra in May 1967. This precipitated a civil war that raged until January 15, 1970, when the Biafrans signed a formal surrender.