Nigeria: Kidnapping Forces a Showdown


August 20, 2006: The crackdown on kidnapping has resulted in a hundred arrests. Of the fifteen foreigners taken this month, ten have been released. All of these arrests have been in urban areas, in the slums where the oil gangs do some of their recruiting. But the police and soldiers have yet to move on the oil gang camps, which are in the swamps, and heavily defended. The government knows that if it escalates the war with the oil gangs, more oil production could be cut off. Currently, violence in the oil region has cut off about twenty percent of oil exports.

August 16, 2006: The government has ordered a crackdown on the kidnapping of foreigners. This is to include an intensive search for kidnappers, and pressure on the oil companies not to pay ransom.

August 15, 2006: Political violence is increasing as another election season approaches. At least three candidates for various important offices, have been murdered recently.

August 14, 2006: So far this month, 14 foreign oil workers have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta oil region. The kidnapping are moving from the oil fields to urban areas, with a gang of gunmen invading a nightclub to snatch two foreigners. The victims are held for ransom, and apparently the success of such ventures is attracting more players.

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