Nigeria: Gangs Gone Wild


January14, 2007: By unwritten (but not unspoken) agreement, all the major political parties have nominated a Moslem to run for president in the April elections. This is because for the last eight years, a Christian president has been in power. The nation is split in half by religion. The south is Christian, the north Moslem. Thus the unwritten understanding that the presidency will alternate. Actually, it is believed that the recent census showed that the Moslems were now at least 55 percent of the population. This doesn't matter much, as Christian and Moslem politicians are equally corrupt. Attempts, in the past few years, to impose Sharia (Islamic law) in largely Moslem northern states, have failed to stem the corruption and crime.

January 11, 2007:A local chief in the Delta, obtained the release of the nine South Koreans who were kidnapped yesterday. Some money probably changed hands.

January 10, 2007:Over a dozen men, in six speedboats, invaded a residential compound in the Niger delta, overpowered 45 security personnel, and kidnapped nine South Korean oil workers. So far this year, 18 foreign oil workers have been kidnapped by gangs. In the past year, sixty foreigners, mostly oil workers, have been kidnapped.

January 9, 2007:In the Niger delta, armed gangs, loyal to rival politicians, clashed several times, leaving at least ten dead, and many more wounded. Such violence was not just in support of upcoming elections, but also because of tribal disputes over land and religious issues.

January 8, 2007:An increasing number of civil aviation accidents brought to light the fact that 85 percent of the 165 commercial aircraft in the country are 21 years old or older, and usually poorly maintained. Corruption and bribery has made it impossible to maintain aviation safety standards. Military aircraft are in no better shape, and most rarely, if ever, fly.

January 7, 2007:In the Niger delta, a navy patrol boat was attacked by seven rebel speedboats, abducting at least two security personnel (as the others fled.) Attacks on security personnel (police, soldiers, sailors) are becoming more common.


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