Nigeria: July 15, 2004

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In the last 24 hours, fighting between police and oil theft gangs in the delta region has left at least a dozen dead. Gang boss Dokubu Asari, who claims to be leading an Ijaw tribal militia (fighting for Ijaw rights), has some 2,000 armed men at his disposal. But what really keeps the Asari gang going is stealing oil from the hundreds of kilometers of pipelines crisscrossing the delta region. The current fighting arose when police and troops raided gangster armories to seize illegal weapons.