Over the last two weeks, violence between the military and the oil
gangs in the Delta, has risen sharply. At least a dozen soldiers have been
killed, with even more gang members dead or missing. Some of the gang dead are
the result of gangs fighting each other. The disputes are often over money.
While the government has troops all over the Niger delta trying to restore
order, and free kidnapped foreign workers, most of the violence is about money,
not politics. About 70 percent of Nigeria's population lives at poverty level,
with income of under $500 a year. Thus stealing oil, armed robbery and burglary
are all attractive enterprises for young men in the Niger delta, and elsewhere
in the country as well.
5, 2007: Five Chinese telecommunications workers were kidnapped in the Niger
delta. China, which is a growing investor, trading partner and supplier of
weapons in Africa, demanded that Nigeria recover the men quickly.
3, 2007: The oil company that employed the four foreign workers held captive by
MEND, tried to use $545,000 to obtain the release of their men. But the rebels
kept the cash, saying they had foiled a bribery attempt, and kept the
31, 2006: MEND rebels moved their four foreign hostages deeper into the jungle
waterways of the Niger river delta, suspecting that the military was planning a
30, 2006: Partial results of the census held earlier this year, were released.
The population has doubled, to 140 million, since the last census in 1991.
Information on the current size of each of the country's 250 tribes, will
not be released until the April elections. The tribal numbers are crucial as
they give each group a number to use when demanding a share of oil wealth, or
25, 2006: Outside Lagos, a large group of people were stealing petroleum from a
punctured pipeline, when the fuel caught fire, and killed 248, with several
hundred receiving non-fatal burns.