Nigeria: Contentious Counting Continues

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March 27, 2006: In the Niger delta, rebels released the last three of their Western (one Briton, two American) hostages, after five weeks of captivity. None of the kidnappers demands were met, and they released the captives so that rebels could concentrate on more attacks on oil facilities. The rebels have managed to avoid army and navy patrols, and are considered a real threat to oil production in the oil region.

March 26, 2006: The first census in fifteen years is being met with hostility in many parts of the country. After the first week of counting, about half a dozen census workers have been killed, and many others attacked or intimidated. Many Nigerians are hostile to a census, because they fear it may cause their tribe or religion power. It is believed that there are between 140-160 million people in the country. Voting and distribution of oil profits are determined by census results. Both Christians and Moslems believe they are the majority.

March 25, 2006: Former Liberian warlord and dictator, Charles Taylor, who has been allowed sanctuary in Nigeria in 2003, will now be extradited to Liberia and charged with war crimes. Taylor lives in a government guest house, and is not closely guarded. It is feared he will flee. Taylor still has many supporters in Liberia, and could revive the civil war there.

March 24, 2006: In the Niger delta, soldiers clashed with rebels, leaving three soldiers dead. The army reported that three soldiers, and their boat, were missing. The rebels say they killed the troops and captured the boat.

 

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