Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria, West Africa in 1931. In 1966 Nigeria suffered ethnic violence, and in 1967 civil war broke out, with the Ibos of the eastern region attempting to establish an independent Republic of Biafra. He and his wife and children were almost killed when their home was bombed. The war ended in 1970 when the Biafran population had been starved into defeat. One million civilians had died in the fighting and from famine. Photographs of starving children with huge distended stomachs from protein deficiency horrified people around the world. Finally, Biafra was reabsorbed into Nigeria.
Achebe wrote about his experiences of war in the 1971 collection Beware, Soul Brother where ‘Vultures’ first appeared.