Nigeria: Unacceptable


July 17, 2011: The Islamic terror group Boko Haram have become a major problem in northeastern Borno State, and especially its capital Maiduguri. Over 40,000 people (out of 1.2 million) have fled the capital, and local leaders believe that the corrupt and violent police are part of the problem. Many of those who fled had businesses or lucrative jobs. Boko Haram violence in the city has killed over 150 so far this year. The government has sent thousands of police and army reinforcements. Most of these security forces just stand guard, hoping to discourage an attack, or catch some Boko Haram in the act. In addition, there are hundreds of plain-clothes police sent to the city, where they have had some success in collecting information on who the terrorists are and where they live. But the regular police and soldiers are prone to robbery and rape, and the locals don't like it. The federal, and state, government know the security forces are part of the problem, but fear withdrawing them from the city will just hand Maiduguri over to Boko Haram. A growing number officials in Borno are admitting that the security forces are criminally violent against innocent civilians, and this just creates more support for Boko Haram and criminal gangs. Changing the culture of the security forces is a formidable task, and there's no prospect that the government is willing or able to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram offers a ceasefire, if all soldiers are withdrawn from the north. Local politicians are trying to work out peace deals with Boko Haram, but the Islamic militants want control of the north, and the imposition of strict Islamic law (Sharia). This is unacceptable to the politicians, who would be out of a job, or in prison, if that happened.

In the Niger delta, there are continuing demonstrations against the oil companies, who usually respond with something. Demonstrating against the government can get you beaten up or killed. Meanwhile, the security forces are increasing their efforts against gangs that steal oil and sell it locally or in adjacent countries. Throughout the country, there is a steady increase in vigilante violence, as criminals are chased down and killed by mobs of people fed up with the growing crime.

Decades of corruption has crippled the economy and made crime an attractive career choice for young people. Thus the popularity of oil theft in the Niger delta, and sale of drugs countrywide. The most successful criminals join (often via a bribe) the police or army, or get themselves elected to a job that controls money. All this has produced increasing calls to deal with the corruption. The Boko Haram violence is an approach common in Moslem countries. It appeals to many Moslems, because nothing else has worked.

July 16, 2011:  In the Niger delta town of Oha, police found and disabled a bomb outside the compound of a local leader.

July 15, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, a bomb was thrown at a police vehicle. Elsewhere in the city, a car bomb wounded seven civilians. To the south, in the national capital, police intercepted a truck carrying bomb making materials.

July 12, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Islamic terrorists made at least four attacks, killing fifty people.

July 10, 2011: In the northern city of Kaduna, Boko Haram bombed a beer garden, killing ten and wounding many more. Boko Haram believes everyone in the Moslem north should obey Islamic (Sharia) law, and that means no alcohol. Christians in the north don't go along with this, nor do many Moslems. But Boko Haram is willing to kill to get their way, but now, so are many of the beer drinkers.

In the northern town of Suleja, Boko Haram bombed a church, killing four Christians.

July 9, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, raids on suspected Boko Haram hideouts left at least 17 terrorists and civilians dead.

July 7, 2011:  To eliminate Boko Haram's favorite mode of transportation, police banned the use of motorcycles in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. Boko Haram adapted, but several thousand people were put out of work by the ban.

July 6, 2011: In the northeast, Boko Haram men raided a police station and looted it of weapons and ammunition. In Maiduguri, four policemen were killed by Boko Haram.

July 3, 2011:  In the north, police arrested over a hundred people believed to be members of Boko Haram. Over the weekend, at least ten people died from Islamic terrorist violence In Maiduguri.

July 1, 2011: After more than two weeks, oil shipments have resumed in the Niger Delta. The two week halt was needed to repair damaged (by oil thieves) pipelines, and improve security.






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