Nigeria: We Miss You, Mister President


January 13, 2010: President Yar'Adua went to Saudi Arabia in late November to get medical treatment. He has been gone ever since, and has ignored pleas that he turn over his power while he is incapacitated. MEND rebels in the Niger Delta were particularly unhappy with peace talks being suspended while the president is out of the country. The president has recently sent a video explaining that he is recovering and will return soon, but does not say when. This has caused much unhappiness back in Nigeria.

January 11, 2010: Four foreign oil workers were kidnapped. The police guards were killed, and it's believed that the foreigners will be held for a large ransom.

January 8, 2010: For the first time this year, and the first time in several months, someone bombed, and breached, an oil pipeline. About 20,000 barrels a day of oil shipments will be lost until the broken pipe can be fixed. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, and the usual suspects (like MEND) denied having anything to do with it.

December 29, 2009: In the north, fighting broke out between factions of the Kala-Kato Islamic sect. Over the next few days, more than 70 people were killed, and many more wounded. Police arrested dozens of teenagers, in addition to adults, and charged them with murder. Cults and religious sects are a constant source of violence in the country. Witchcraft is also a source of violence.

December 25, 2009: In the United States, a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested as he tried to detonate a bomb, while his airliner was about to land in Detroit. Last month, Abdulmutallab's father had warned the United States that his son had been radicalized, but the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy dropped the ball, and Abdulmutallab got on at least two airliners, undetected, with the powdered explosives sewn into his underwear. Despite being home to over 70 million Moslems, Nigeria has produced very few Islamic radicals or terrorists. It turns out that Abdulmutallab was radicalized while attending university in Britain. There he was recruited as a terrorist, and sent to Yemen for training.

December 19, 2009: In the Niger Delta, about 35 MEND gunmen attacked a pipeline, but did no serious damage. The attack was caused by frustration at the suspension of peace talks while the president is out of the country getting medical treatment. MEND quickly realized that the mood in the Delta was against renewed violence, and no more such attacks occurred for the rest of the year.


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