Nigeria: Gangs At Sea

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March 26,2008: Piracy off the Niger River Delta is way up this year, partly as a result of increased army and police activity on land. There are now 5-10 ships attacked a week. In most cases, all portable valuables are taken, but in some instances, crews will be beaten or shot for no reason. Sometimes, smaller ships are taken into the swamps and held for ransom. This is dangerous, as the armed forces can often find the ship from the air.

March 25, 2008: In a surprising move, the president fired two ministers for corrupt practices. It was believed that the new president would go easy on corruption in order to please political allies.

March 24, 2008: Anti-corruption efforts have led to revelations that there were many questionable government actions when former president Olusegun Obasanjo was in power. Obasanjo was elected on an anti-corruption platform, and actually did much to catch crooked politicians.

The navy shot four pirates, as they caught them trying to move a boat that had recently hijacked.

March 23, 2008: A fire at a naval base in the Niger Delta, which destroying two gunboats. Separatists gang MEND claimed they had launched an attack on the base, which the navy denied.

March 21, 2008: Growing population in northern Nigeria has led to more violence between tribes that farm and those that tend herds. Both are competing for the same land, and everyone has weapons. The violence is now constant, with a dozen or more casualties a month.

March 12, 2008: Police seized a base, in the Niger Delta, used by Ateke Tom, the head of an Ijaw vigilante group. The base featured a large stockpile of arms and ammo, as well as an illegal pipeline, plugged into a legitimate one. This made it easier to steal oil.

March 11, 2008: A volunteer UN human rights investigator reported that Nigerian police treat prisoners very roughly. Most Nigerians agree with this, and wish the cops used the violence on more criminals, and didn't take as many bribes. Nigerians would also like the police to refrain from the traditional "eye for an eye" attitude when police are killed during tribal disputes. The police have a tendency to come back and kill a lot of the civilians involved, to encourage people to refrain from killing cops.

 

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