Nigeria: Deadlock In The Delta


March 8, 2006: The gangsters holding three foreigners in the Delta region have made four demands. They want a gang leader (accused of rebellion) and a former governor (accused of corruption) released, the share of oil revenues paid to the provincial government increased, and $1.5 billion in compensation paid (by the oil companies) to the communities in the Delta who have suffered damage from oil operations. Something for everyone. The gangs threaten more attacks after March 10th, if their demands are not met by then. They let an earlier, March 6th, deadline, go by with nothing more than a four day extension.

In response, the government has removed the head of the military unit assigned to end the Delta hostage crises. Brigadier general Elias Zamani, and his deputy were removed. This was another of the demands of the Delta gangs, but Zamani was sacked mainly because he has been unable to deal with the gangs. Journalists have been able to meet with the gangsters, and reported that they are a ragtag, informal group. This led the government to fire Zamani, and bring in someone who will go after the gangs.

Some 20 percent of Nigerian oil production, from the western portion of the Delta, is still off line. The oil that is getting out is coming from the more peaceful eastern portion of the Delta region.

March 1, 2006: Six foreigners were released by gangsters in the Delta region. Three men are still being held.

February 24, 2006: Christian mobs, responding to Moslem mob violence against Christians in the north, killed nearly 200 Moslems in the south. Some of the bodies were burned in the street. The Moslem violence, against cartoons published in Denmark, and distributed worldwide by Islamic radicals, died down in response to the Christian reaction in the south.




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