Why FG tagged us unknown gunmen, Fishman, Biafra Revolutionary Force spokesperson
Michele Fishman is the spokesperson for the less heard about Biafra Revolutionary Force, BRF. She says her organization is behind the ‘Unknown Gunmen’ appellation but explains why BRF is not in sync with Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB/ESN.
I understand that you are the spokesperson of BRF
Yes. I am the spokesperson.
What is the principal aim of the BRF?
The principal aim is to restore Biafra and develop a democratic nation where all can live in peace.
So you share the same goal as IPOB?
IPOB’s goals are unclear to me. And it seems to change often. First, they were nonviolent, now not. Asking people not to vote, then hurry go vote. It is confusing. I also have never seen a charter or mandate from them so it is hard to know their long-term plans with nothing made public.
Has IPOB reached out to BRF on any form of collaboration?
No. There is a long story here. I will say that (Mazi Nnamdi) Kanu proved himself much more interested in who has power and money than in taking action to free the people.
But BRF members were previous members of IPOB
Some were, yes. Not me. I attended rallies and meetings for a time here in NY and quickly realized something wasn’t right. At the time, the NY IPOB was splitting up because they had sent a lot of money over to help and Kanu but they would not account for it. Also, it was the time when the Clifford Ironaya situation was ongoing, which was a mess. One of the NY leadership team befriended me and is still with us today.
So you are Biafran, in short.
Only in my heart. I am actually a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx.
Married to an Igbo?
No. Not married.
So BRF started in 2008?
Actually BRF started long before. We surfaced in 2008 and went public.
You were originally non-violent?
No. Always military. Way back we met with world leaders in the US and abroad. They explained to us their position on our Nation and what would be required to restore. Not using violence was never then nor now an option.
So what was your first violent statement in Nigeria?
I cannot go into anything operational for security reasons. Sorry. That is a no-go area.
Who are the world leaders you met about Biafra?
I cannot name some of them but one was Susan Rice, from the US.
And which country?
US, France, Israel and some African countries, I Cannot name them. This was many years ago.
What was/is their position on Biafra?
Simple version is that we lost in the war so no one was going to offer troops to assist us. If we wanted our Nation back we were told we would have to prove we could take it and hold it ourselves.
Honestly, I do not think anyone thought we would actually do it back then, but here we are today.
Why are you called “Unknown Gun Men”, why don’t you simply claim your exploits?
We do claim our exploits. Look at our Facebook page. The Unknown Gunmen was given to us by either the Nigerian Government or the Nigerian press as a way to confuse our people and not allow for people to follow and support us. As you know IPOB was nothing until Buhari spoke about it. They learned and will not acknowledge us but please know that those who truly matter in this know exactly who we are.
Some people confuse you with IPOB/ESN
True but we have been very clear from the beginning that there was no affiliation. Many have tried to claim our deeds as their own but one must really turn off the noise and pay attention. You will see the truth.
I was about to say that while IPOB has disclaimed the activities of the UGM occasionally, MNK sounds ambivalent.
He is stuck. I believe he thought he would allow us to do what is necessary and while he looked nonviolent and then he would jump in to take the credit and hold power. He really doesn’t know us well if he believes that.
How are you funded?
That is classified. Yes, BRF is much bigger than what Kanu and others understand. We are diplomatically and militarily poised to bring our nation back and develop a true democracy. I have not seen IPOB or any other group who actually has a plan for after the restoration. There is much more than winning a ground operation involved.
Are you concerned that the escalation of violence risks alienating the Igbos?
Violence is never something I like but it is necessary in this case. I believe that while we are in a terribly difficult time, in the end the people will rejoice at their freedom. I also would like to say that the level of violence is greatly increased due to Kanu and his threats.
Kanu and his threats?
Some people do not see this now but will understand because in the end the truth always comes. Kanu and his radio rants…saying he has an army, telling them they will die in our woods if they come. You do not taunt a lion without the meat to pacify him. In other words, you cannot make threats and then expect another organization to run in and save the people so you can take credit.
So you’d rather he toned down the threats?
I’d rather he learns that not everything is noise. Not everything has to be said. And not everything is about one person. Wisdom is found in silence.
You are targeting government institutions.
But there are collateral damages
How do you feel about that?
In war there is collateral damage. Of course, I am not happy about it. I value every Biafran life like it was my own. Sadly, many refuse to follow our directions and stay clear of action. Please look at our posts… we always ask people to stay clear but there they are watching on the side of the road.
I understand you have submitted your demands to the Federal Government.
No. We have not. They have options available to them at this time. I cannot say more.
Have the Federal Government contacted you in any way?
My understanding is that they have tried many times but have not been able to reach us.