Nigeria: Rebel Threats Come Up Empty

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April 25, 2006: Despite damage done by the oil gangs, all of the oil facilities in the Delta are under government control, and repairs to damaged equipment are almost complete. Only about 380,000 barrels a day of oil are still offline, and that is expected to be fixed in a week. The oil gangs have not tried to take down more oil production, but they could. The most common form of damage continues to be punctures in the pipelines, so that oil can be stolen for the black market. The oil gangs now like to announce these thefts as "attacks on the oil companies," but the gangs have a payroll to meet, and the only source of money is stolen oil.

April 21, 2006: In response to the army base car bombing, the military and police have increased their patrols, arrests and use of force against suspected oil gangsters (young guys, openly displaying guns, in speed boats.)

April 19, 2006: For the first time, the Delta oil gangs have used a car bomb, setting one off inside an army base, killing two and wounding six. This is the first rebel action since February, aside from defending themselves when attacked by military and police patrols.

April 18, 2006: The government has promised an economic growth program in the Delta region, one that would create some 20,000 jobs. The oil gangs complained that this was another false promise.

April 10, 2006: The oil gangs have threatened a large scale attack on the oil facilities in the Delta, but the military and police doubt that the gangs have the manpower, firepower, or nerve to launch large scale attacks.

 

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