Nigeria: The Army Unleashed Against Gangsters


December 21, 2010: The army has cancelled training and deployed over 17,000 troops for a major offensive against criminal gangs (mainly kidnappers) and religious extremists (mainly Boko Haran). Kidnapping has become a big business in the southeast, and the army has arrested nearly 400 of the 2,000 gang members believed involved there. Soldiers have also seized hundreds of firearms and lots of ammunition. In the Niger Delta, the main target has been the oil stealing gangs, and several raids have resulted in dozens of casualties each, and large quantities of weapons seized. But the soldiers are accused of being trigger-happy, and shooting lots of civilians who get in the way.

While oil production has climbed back to 2.2 million barrels a day, increased violence by the new the NDLF (Niger-Delta Liberation Force) has forced the shutdown of some pipelines, and if the army cannot halt the violence, shipments will against fall below two million barrels a day.

December 19, 2010: A Niger Delta gang leader, and official in separatist group MEND, Obese Kuna, has disappeared from prison (along two of his lieutenants). The government cannot explain what happened to the three men, nor can the lawyers defending the three against criminal charges.

December 9, 2010:  In northern Borno State, troops staged an early morning raid on a village where Islamic militants were believed to be. There were indeed several armed members of Boko Haran, who fired on the troops and retreated. There were no deaths and few wounded, as the Islamic terrorists fled by hiding the crowd of civilians trying to get away from the shooting.



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