Nigeria: Another Illusion Starts To Fade

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August 14, 2009: Some MEND factions are accusing the military of continuing to launch attacks on them. The military denies this, and refuses to pull their patrols out of the creeks that crisscross the delta. Moreover, few rebels are showing up at the demobilization centers to turn in their weapons, take the loyalty (to the government) pledge and get paid. The process is less than two weeks old, and there have already been several clashes between police and rebels, and one rebel leader (albeit an unpopular one) has been killed. Several others have been arrested, under false pretenses.

The largest city in the delta, Port Harcourt, is threatened with large scale violence as police begin to evict several hundred thousand people from prime waterfront property (to allow for new construction.) Courts have halted the evictions, but the process is going ahead anyway. To most Nigerians, it appears that bribes have been paid and the fix is in. But this time, the unrest in the city is widespread, and could escalate into violence.

August 13, 2009: In the Niger Delta, a natural gas plant was blown up by someone (no one has claimed credit). This plant supplied fuel for electric power generation, and this has resulted in a sharp drop in the availability of electric power in the area.

August 9, 2009: A new rebel group, the NDPF (Niger Delta Patriotic Front) has been formed in the Niger Delta. The NDPF is out to destroy the criminal organizations that have made life worse for everyone in the delta. In other words, the NDPF is a vigilante organization, that will attempt to do what the generally corrupt and inept police cannot do. Similar vigilante groups have been formed in other parts of the country before, but have eventually become corrupt themselves.

August 8, 2009: A group calling itself the Ughievwen Youth Body Fighters, blew up a natural gas pipeline in the Niger Delta.

August 7, 2009: MEND sent 32 leaders to meet with the Nigerian president, to confirm the truce, and warn the president that past deals like this had failed because corrupt officials failed to carry out government promises. In the north, police continued to seek out Boko Haram members, and arrested fifty suspects.

 

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