Nigeria: Al Qaeda Wannabes Busted

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November 14, 2007: Additional army and police units in the Niger River Delta area have reduced the violence between gangs, but not eliminated it. A fifth of the nations oil shipments are still blocked by violence in the region. The major problems are caused by the gangs that work for politicians (especially during election time). In the Delta, these gangs are rewarded with security contracts by oil companies. These political gangs sometimes fight each other for turf, insults or possession of a security contract. The "enemy" is the oil stealing gangs, who also fight each other over control of territory (which oil pipelines, that can be tapped, pass through).

November 13, 2007: In the Bakassi region of neighboring Cameroon, 21 police were killed when their boat was attacked by men wearing Nigerian army uniforms. Ten of the attackers were killed, and one of their boats sunk. Nigeria said the attackers were probably tribal separatists from the nearby Niger River Delta. UN mediation awarded the disputed, and oil rich, area to Cameroon, but Nigeria resisted complying for several years. Most residents of Bakassi consider themselves Nigerian, but do not want to move. The Bakassi decision was part of a UN mediation that covered several other disputed bits along over a thousand kilometers of the border with Cameroon. Nigeria got some small areas as well. Bakassi, however, contains a lot of oil.

November 12, 2007: Police in the largely Moslem north, arrested at least ten members of the "Nigerian Taliban" and accused them of consorting with al Qaeda and planning terrorist operations. The "Nigerian Taliban" have no connection with Afghanistan, but for the last five years have been trying to impose a strict Islamic lifestyle on Nigerian Moslems. This has been unsuccessful, but the group has also made several attacks on the police, and the police have retaliated. Dozens have been killed or wounded in these actions. Now the police believe the group was planning a bombing campaign against the government.

In the Niger River Delta, about fifty separatist rebels, in seven speed boats, attacked a large oil shipping facility. One civilian bystander was killed, and the rebels managed to steal a police patrol boat and a two machine-guns before being driven off.

 

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