Nigeria: November 25, 1999


A disagreement over which ethnic group would control a market area in the capital turned into ethnic warfare. At least 27 bodies have been found, and many more injured. The conflict began when a hard line Yoruba organization (the OPC, or Odura Peoples Congress) sought to forcibly take control of a market are controlled by Hausas. The Yoruba are dominant in the southwest part of the country, the Moslem Hausa in the north. The capital attracts peoples from all tribes, but has generally been free of violent ethnic conflicts. The Moslems from the north tend to monopolize the nations political affairs, much to the discomfort of the mainly Christian southern tribes. The government ordered the arrest of OPC leaders and strong measures against anyone engaging in violent behavior. By the end of the day, the police were ordered to shoot on sight anyone engaging in criminal activity.

November 23; Over two thousand army and police reinforcements have arrived in the Niger delta area to protect oil facilities and put down local rebels. Some 43 deaf reported, with the locals (especially militant teenagers)  resisting with automatic weapons. Most of the dead are rebels, although eight soldiers were also killed.

November 20; The Nigerian military, convinced that the country faces severe threats from within and without, is becoming increasingly restive. Military leaders have urged President Obasanjo to send troops to areas of unrest including the oil-rich delta.--Stephen V Cole

November 19; As if tribal unrest weren't causing enough problems, there are also labor disputes over scarce jobs. Twenty people were killed in a battle between rival factions of a dockworkers union in Port Harcourt. Meanwhile, the death toll from the ethnic violence in the Niger river delta has risen to sixty. To make matters worse, a police station was seized by a mob, and looted of all the arms and ammunition stored there.

November 18; Five thousand Moslems demonstrated outside a courthouse in northern Zamfara state, protesting a judge who struck down the provincial governors introduction of Islamic Sharia law.

November 18; Further unrest in the oil rich Delta area killed more than fifty people, including four policemen. Men from the Oleh and Olomoro tribes got into a dispute over who would get some scrap metal. More than eighty houses were destroyed and thousands fled the violence. 

November 17; Nigeria has withdrawn its last peacekeeping forces from Liberia. The seven-year intervention cost Nigeria $8 billion and the lives of 500 soldiers.--Stephen V Cole


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