Nigeria: Let's Pretend


March 8, 2009: The war between tribal rebels and the military in the Niger delta oil region, is going against the rebels. The military, police and private security have been sufficient to repel rebel attacks on oil facilities.  The rebels and oil thieves have not been happy with this new efficiency by the security forces. In retaliation, the oil stealing gangs are blowing up pipelines, just to interrupt oil shipments.

The government sent more police and soldiers to Bauchi, to take over from local police, who tend to be partisan (side with the Moslem rioters).  A curfew was imposed and peace restored. This is the usual drill, and the violence will occur again in the future.

Piracy is a growing problem. In 2006, there were nine attacks on ships for the entire year. But there have been more than nine ships attacked so far this year. Large fishing boats, coastal freighters and oil company boats are all targets. The oil company boats tend to have armed guards, but the others do not. In the pirates just robbed the crew and carried off any portable gear. Now they are holding ships for ransom. The navy has been tied up dealing with tribal rebels in the Niger delta, and protecting oil facilities. This gives the pirates a free ride along the rest of the coast.

March 4, 2009: Another ex-state governor has been arrested for corruption (stealing $171 million in state funds). In fact, the government is just going through the motions with its anti-corruption campaign. The dozens of arrested officials end up being fined a small percentage of what they stole, and set free to enjoy their plundered millions.

February 27, 2009: The army has found and destroyed another rebel camp hidden in the tangle of waterways that make up the Niger river delta. The military has become more active and aggressive in patrolling the many waterways in the delta, making it more difficult for the rebels to launch attacks, and move stolen (from ruptured pipelines) oil.

February 21, 2009:  In the northern city of Bauchi. Moslems and Christians attacked each other, burning down three mosques, 14 churches and several hundred homes and businesses. At least 15 people were killed and over a hundred wounded. Nearly 5,000 were forced to flee their homes. The violence is basically caused by politicians and tribal leaders using religious differences to increase their power. Fearful people are more prone to strongly support their political leaders. Another reason for the violence is the attempt by Moslems to impose religious (Sharia) law in the north. Sharia is seen as an antidote for the endemic corruption (it isn't), and Moslems try to impose many Sharia rules on Christians.

In the south, well armed (from stealing oil) gangs went to war over sports. Fans of different football (soccer) teams used firearms against each other, leaving at least 13 dead and dozens wounded.




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