Nigeria: February 24, 2004


: Almost 900 policemen have been dismissed for corruption and extortion within the past two years, as part of an exercise to clean up the police force. These corrupt cops were arrested in various parts of the country, tried, found guilty and sacked by the police authorities. By flushing law enforcement of it's bad apples, Nigeria is strengthening it's ability to deal with internal concerns before they boil over into exchanges of gunfire.

Four Nigerian riot police were ambushed on February 19 by a Muslim militia in tit-for-tat sectarian fighting in the central state of Plateau, bringing the death toll from two weeks of violence to 14. However, these lethal disagreements were for more mundane reasons that politics or Islamic fervor.

But Islamic insurgency is still a cloud on Nigeria's horizon. Last week, Chief of Army Staff warned that some religious insurgents are plotting to unleash fresh havoc and advised those behind the plot to drop the idea or face the Army's wrath. This threat was uncovered after the recent uprising in Yobe State, whereby some religious bigots overran some villages and killed dozens of people. However, he also lamented that security agents had failed to identify problems before they get out of hand and the lack of cooperation between security agencies. - Adam Geibel

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