The narrative now follows Ugwu, and a few weeks have passed since the second coup. Odenigbo and his guests no longer laugh and argue, but instead they discuss troubled reports from the North. Ugwu is worried because Olanna is still in Kano. Odenigbo listens to the radio say that five hundred Igbo civilians have been killed in a town, and he says it is “rubbish.”
Just like Madu, even the educated and worldly Odenigbo is willing to deny reality when it is too horrible. Kano was the center of Hausa culture and also where the civilian massacres began. The Igbo (like Olanna’s family) were the minority there.
Meanwhile Baby laughs and tells Ugwu that she saw baby chickens in her dreams, and she asks about “Mummy Ola.” Then there is a knock on the door, and Ugwu hides Baby away. Some men enter, looking shocked, and they say that Igbo people are being massacred everywhere in the North. They say that the slaughter began in Kano, and Ugwu panics.
Again Baby’s innocence is contrasted with the horrors of reality. This is the beginning of what would be known as the Anti-Igbo Pogrom of 1966. The massacres of civilians by civilians is the worst kind of “betrayal,” as previously-peaceful neighbors turn on each other.
The radio keeps talking, telling horrifying stories of a full church being set on fire and a pregnant woman being cut open. The radio says that “the lucky ones” are returning to the Southeast by train, so people should bring whatever food they have to spare to the railway stations. Odenigbo sends Ugwu to the station with some tea and bread.
Thousands of people were killed in these massacres, and Adichie draws out the individual tragedies that can be lost in the mind-numbing casualty counts. Such acts are the start of genocide, the systematic destruction of a particular ethnic group.
Ugwu arrives at the railway station and sees people covered in dirt and blood. He hands out the bread and tea to wounded people, including a man missing his right eye. One man says that it was soldiers who saved him from the angry mob. Ugwu does not see Olanna among the crowds, and finally he runs away from the horrifying place.
The Northern soldiers were probably Hausa, but they were the ones protecting civilians from other civilians. The massacres fed on a mob mentality and ethnic hatred stirred up by the government coups and British colonial policy.