Nigeria: Making A Move On MEND

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November 15,2008:  Niger delta rebel group MEND has been rescuing people from kidnapping gangs, and letting most of them go free. But foreigners, especially Britons, are being kept in an attempt to force the government to do right by the people of the Niger delta (who have gained little from decades of oil field operations.) MEND is also demanding that Britain stop training the Nigerian military. In response, the military is preparing major assaults on two known MEND camps. This is no secret, and MEND threatens another wave of attacks on oil facilities if the military moves on the two camps. The military and MEND have been dancing around each other for months, unwilling to go head-to-head. Apparently that is about to change.

There are growing public displays of outrage at the corruption among public officials, but little action to stop it. A few corrupt officials have been removed from office, but the large scale looting of the oil revenue continues.

November 7, 2008:  Six sailors died, along with several gang members, when the navy tried to intervene and stop a gun battle between two rival gangs in the Niger delta.

November 6, 2008: In the Niger Delta, some twenty speedboats full of armed oil thieves, attacked a military camp. The only injury was to a civilian killed in the crossfire. The gang was apparently trying to intimidate the military into staying away from the oil stealing operations that finance the gangs.

November 5, 2008: The rebel group MEND said it had rescued the foreign engineer who had been kidnapped on the 3rd. The MEND rescuers also freed a second man, a Nigerian, who was also be held by the kidnapping gang. The engineer was then released by MEND.

Marines found and attacked a kidnappers camp near the Bakassi peninsula, and attempted to rescue ten oil workers that had been kidnapped from a boat near the Cameroon border a week earlier. One of the hostages was killed. Rebels belonging to the NDDSC (Niger Delta Defense and Security Council) were responsible. The NDDSC wants  the Bakassi peninsula returned to Nigerian control, and compensation paid to the Nigerians who left the Bakassi peninsula after Cameroon took control of the area last year.

November 3, 2008: A foreign engineer was kidnapped from a construction site in Port Harcourt (the major city in the Niger River delta oil region.)

 

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