Nigeria: Oil Gangs Go To War


January 21, 2006: More troops were sent to the Niger Delta, to aid in the search for the hostages taken from an oil platform. Secret negotiations were said to be underway with the kidnappers, but the government is also committed to crushing the gangs, which have prospered for years from stealing oil. The gangs have gotten political because the tribes in the Delta have gotten lots of pollution and no money from all the oil fields, and people are unhappy about this. The corruption that permeates the government, and much of Nigerian society, makes negotiation futile and armed violence more attractive.

January 20, 2006: The kidnappers of four oil workers are demanding that the foreign oil companies pay $1.5 billion to Bayelsa state to compensate for pollution, and that the government free imprisoned gang leaders from the Delta.

January 15, 2006: Several dozen armed men, in speedboats, attacked an oil rig and employee housing area. The attack was defeated by soldiers, with at least a dozen attackers, soldiers and civilians dead.

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