Nigeria: Shoot To Kill


January 26, 2011: In central Nigeria, around Jos, two Christian villages have been attacked five times in the last two weeks, leaving 34 villagers dead. Villagers accuse Moslem police and soldiers for many of the attacks. Police and army commanders deny this, although allow for the possibility of Moslem security personnel acting as vigilantes. The violence in central Nigeria is also ethnic, economic and political.

The EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) has been increasing its raids and arrests, seeking to prosecute members of foreign oil companies who pay bribes, as well as Nigerian officials who take (and often demand) them. While much of the government corruption occurs when national oil revenue is simply stolen by senior officials, there are plenty of other opportunities to grab some oil money. But now there is fear that the EFCC has been corrupted, with some of the EFCC raids seen as supporting one corrupt faction or another.

The army is unhappy about being accused of tolerating rogue troops, who take part in ethnic/religious  violence, rather than halting it. The army would much prefer more media attention be given to the professionalism of Nigerian Army peacekeepers currently working in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Sudan. Corruption and misbehavior is more attractive to a journalist than a well-behaved peacekeeper. That won't change any time soon.

January 22, 2011: In the northeast, two soldiers were killed at roadblock by Boko Haran gunmen. There are apparently still several hundred armed Boko Haran out there. Since this Taliban-like group is on a mission from God, they are drawn to extreme actions and resistant to calls for negotiations or peace.

January 20, 2011: Responding to a threat of more MEND attacks, troops were sent to guard key oil facilities. MEND later denied that it had made any threat.

January 17, 2011: In central Nigeria, around Jos, a Christian mob killed a Moslem election worker (handing registration for upcoming elections). In response, police and soldiers were given a shoot-to-kill order (against anyone seen threatening violence). In the last year, religious and ethnic violence in and around Jos has left over 500 dead.