Nigeria: December 15, 1999


Fighting between different Yoruba activist factions killed one man and destroyed a clinic run by a moderate activist group.

December 12; The start of Ramadan in northern Nigeria has caused an increase in Moslem radicalism. Two more northern states, Kano and Sokoto, have joined Zamfara in pledging to implement Islamic Sharia law.

December 11; Nigerian troops "taught a lesson" to civilians of the town of Odi in the oil-producing delta region on 20 Nov. The Army's 2nd Amphibious Brigade took over the town, expelled the residents, and burned most of it to the ground (including hundreds of individual homes). Many civilians were killed, and the Army admitted that it had done most of the damage. Odi had been the site of recent trouble; more than a dozen policemen were killed by "a criminal gang" (or perhaps a local insurgent group, the difference depending on who was writing the after-action report). The Army moved in when the town government refused to take any action against the culprits. "No village will want to go through what Odi went through" said an Army spokesman.--Stephen V Cole

December 7; In the southeast, at least fifteen people were killed, many more injured and some 20,000 made homeless when two towns fought each other over fishing rights. Meanwhile, police have replaced soldiers in the devastated town of Odi.

December 6; Police arrested 21 members of the OPC (a hard line Yoruba group) and accused them of planning terrorist actions.

December 3; Nigerian Defense Minister LtGen Theophilus Danjuma has ordered all military commanders to send him a list of officers with active political inclinations. Those on the list will be given a fair hearing before they are discharged.--Stephen V Cole

December 2; Either people were killed and many more injured when a gang of bus drivers invaded a neighborhood to exact revenge for the killing of another bus driver. Such vigilante violence is becoming more common as the corrupt police of the former dictatorship are still on duty and not allowed to exercise unrestrained power (to keep down the corruption, but this also allows the criminals to do as they please as long as they don't do it to the police.)

December 1; The government's order for police and troops to "shoot on sight" looters and rioters raised an uproar among local legislators and foreign governments. The fear is that such heavy handed tactics would further inflame the population. Nigerians, and nations with an interest in Nigeria, fear a civil war along ethnic lines.


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