Nigeria: Reshuffle and Pray

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August 2, 2007: With foreign oil workers either gone, or better protected, in the Niger Delta, the kidnapping gangs have turned to wealthy Nigerians for victims. Security firms are doing a booming business. But, as happened in other parts of the world (most recently Colombia and the Philippines) the kidnapping will rapidly increase until the population rebels, and the police are able to wipe out the kidnapping gangs. This can take several years to play out. Meanwhile, life will become a lot more uneasy in the Niger Delta. There's also increasing religious violence throughout the country. Not just between Christians and Moslems, but between other factions. There are a growing number of religious cults, which tend towards violence when challenged. In the Moslem north, militant Shia and Sunni sects are increasingly turning to violence. It's believed that Saudi Arabian religious charities are backing radical Sunni clerics, while Iran supports radical Shia preachers and communities.

August 1, 2007: The newly elected president is enforcing retirement guidelines and regulations in the armed forces. As a result, at least a dozen senior generals have retired, and dozens more, who have at least 35 years service and are over age sixty, are being urged to retire. Over twenty younger generals and colonels have been transferred to new jobs. Some of the newly appointed commanders are being sent south, to try and use troops to restore order in the oil producing region.

July 31, 2007: In the oil rich Niger Delta, a coalition of 25 tribal rebel groups are negotiating with the government over how to conduct discussions aimed at settling differences. The biggest beef is how the oil wealth is divided. The locals want more of it.

July 28, 2007: Ten navy officers, including an admiral, were retired, because they were suspected of involvement in oil smuggling. The navy has been trying to halt the illegal oil stealing and smuggling business. When these efforts appeared to fail, an investigation revealed evidence indicating that the oil stealing gangs had gotten to navy commanders with large amounts of cash. But this could not be conclusively proved.

July 26, 2007: The government is prosecuting former governors for corruption, but it appears that the thieving politicians are getting off easy. They are sentenced to time served (while awaiting trial) and a return of some of the money they stole.

 

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