Nigeria: Police Under Siege

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February2, 2007: It's becoming more difficult to get kidnap victims freed. Cash ransom is no longer enough, as the kidnappers are increasingly demanding political concessions (mainly spending government money on infrastructure projects, instead of seeing the cash stolen by government officials.) The foreign governments trying to get their citizens freed can put pressure on the Nigerian government to placate the kidnappers, but that rarely works.

February 1, 2007: Despite the unrest in the Niger Delta, the national police are preoccupied with the prospect of political violence nationwide over the next two months, before the presidential elections in April. Some 78 percent of the 320,000 national police are being mobilized to deal with political violence.

January 26, 2007:In Port Harcourt, the largest city in the Niger Delta, several hundred MEND rebels attacked police headquarters and freed over a hundred prisoners (including a MEND leader). There were about five dead, after several hours of shooting and the use of an armed helicopter.

January 25, 2007:In the Delta, a police killed a rebel gunman. One group of kidnappers are demanding over $500,000 ransom, each, for foreigners they are holding captive. The government confirmed that nine Chinese oil workers were kidnapped in the Niger Delta on the 22nd.

 

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