Nigeria: Stalemate


April 17, 2009: The government offer of amnesty to Niger River Delta rebels was largely refused by those it was aimed at. The rebels are making good money stealing oil, kidnapping and other criminal enterprises. The police and military are not numerous to destroy the rebels, although damage is being done.

The military and Delta rebels continue to clash, with the rebels usually being the loser. But the rebels, gangsters and oil thieves are too numerous to wipe out with the security forces available. But the military presence has reduced the attacks on the oil facilities, but a quarter of the national oil production is still shut down because of rebel and criminal activities in the Delta.

Kidnapping is a growing crime in the Niger Delta, with about 128 (mostly Nigerians) taken in the last year, and most of them in the Delta. Fewer foreigners have been taken, because of better security. The problem is not huge by world standards, where the number of people taken a year has been over 3,000 (like Colombia, before a recent crackdown greatly reduced that rate).

April 14, 2009: In the Delta, rebels attacked an oil facility, killing one sailor, and stealing four speedboats belonging to an oil company. This was believed in retaliation for an earlier navy operation where the rebels had four speedboats sunk. The rebels are mostly concerned with stealing and selling oil, not fighting with the police and military. But in some cases, the rebels take the effects of a military operations personally, and seek revenge.

April 12, 2009: In the central Nigerian towns of Gwada and Minna, mobs of Moslem men attacked Christian Easter activities. This led to a prompt police investigation and the arrest of over a hundred Moslem men. Clashes like this are common in central Nigeria, where many Moslems and Christians live together, but don't get along.

April 8, 2009: An Italian man was kidnapped in the southeastern town of Abakaliki, outside the oil region.

April 6, 2009: In the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt, kidnappers grabbed a British citizen, killing the policeman guarding him. Some 80 kilometers off the coast, gunmen attacked and destroyed a pipe laying ship. No one took responsibility.

April 5, 2009: The U.S. State Department warned that there might be attacks on diplomatic targets in Lagos. Rebels in the Niger Delta denied being the cause of these warnings.  




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