Nigeria: Pirates Preparing To Escalate


January 12, 2011:  Violence continues in the Niger Delta, although more of it seems to be directed at political parties, rather than oil companies. The oil production facilities are well guarded and dangerous to attack. The politics in Delta State is as corrupt as they come, so much so that the governor's election was rerun. Various political gangs again tried to rig the vote, and so far 67 of these thugs have been arrested.

In Central Nigeria, some Islamic religious leaders are blaming political gangs for the Christmas attacks on churches in the capital. Such duplicity is not unknown in Nigeria, but murderous religious animosities are real, and have been around, and active, for centuries.

Although piracy had declined from 114 attacks in 2008 to 58 last year, this kind of violence is expected to increase this year. That's because successful pirates are sharing knowledge of the techniques that work. There are two kinds of attacks. One just robs the crew and ship of portable valuables. The more ambitious gangs also kidnap the captain and other officers from large ships, and hold them for ransom. This requires more teamwork and resources. But apparently some existing criminal gangs are organizing for more of these kidnapping attacks (setting up hideouts deep in the swamps, arranging for middlemen to handle the negotiations and money transfer.)

January 11, 2011: Additional troops arrived in Central Nigeria, to guard Christian villages from further attacks, and to track down those who committed recent killings.

January 10, 2011: In Central Nigeria, Moslems seeking revenge attacked Christian villages, killing 18, most often using machetes.

January 9, 2011: In the northern city of Maiduguri (near the Cameroon border) four Boko Haran gunmen killed a policeman guarding a church, and wounded the church watchmen.

January 8, 2011:  At a political meeting in Central Nigerian city of Jos, violence broke out and three people died.

January 7, 2011:  In the Central Nigerian city of Jos, a Christian mob killed a car full of seven Moslems. A Moslem mob later responded, killing one person.

January 6, 2011: The vote for governor in oil-rich Delta State was rerun, with police and poll watchers carefully observing to avoid another tainted election.

January 4, 2011: Twenty recently transferred Boko Haran members tried to escape from Jimeta prison (in the north, near the Cameroon border). Some of the other prisoners helped prevent the breakout. Boko Haran is seen as a general menace to society, even in the Moslem north. In the nearby city of Maiduguri, police arrested the chief fundraiser for Boko Haram, Alhaji Bunu Wakil, and captured weapons, documents and bomb making material.



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