Nigeria: Head Shot


September 24, 2012:  The army is waging a war against oil thieves and pirates in the south (Edo, Delta, and Ondo States). Over the last two months troops have shut down primitive refineries, seized over a hundred speedboats, a dozen small tankers, nearly 400,000 drums of diesel oil, and a lot of other gear. Despite this, stealing oil is still a big business down south. Troops and police have found that most of the piracy off the coast was carried out by members of oil stealing gangs.

The security forces are most intent on reducing the Boko Haram terror attacks. So far this year Boko Haram attacks have killed nearly 700 people. Intelligence efforts have revealed the names of many of the leaders and tips from Moslem civilians has made it possible to track down a growing number of key Boko Haram people. Boko Haram is still active but becoming less effective as these losses at the top disrupt operations.

China is offering a $1.1 billion loan, at low rates, to be used for building infrastructure (commuter rail, an airport terminal). Many Nigerians are uncomfortable with this because of the Chinese willingness to deal with corrupt officials in Africa and make deals that help China at the expense of Africans.

September 23, 2012: In the north (Bauchi) a car bomb went off outside a Catholic cathedral during mass, killing at least three people and wounding dozens of people outside the church. Security around Christian churches in the north is intense because of the Boko Haram threat, making it difficult for the terrorists to make effective attacks.  

September 22, 2012: Thousands of Shia Moslems demonstrated in the northern city of Kano to protest an American movie critical of Islam. There are about seven million Shia in Nigeria. Many Nigerian Shia belong to groups supported by Iran. While relations with Sunni Moslems are generally good, Sunni radical groups like Boko Haram contain many members who accept the anti-Shia attitude so common in Sunni terror groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban.

September 20, 2012: The U.S. has designated the three top leaders of Boko Haram as international terrorists. But the Americans are not assigning the designation (which makes those designated subject to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts) to the entire organization because only international terrorists are of interest. The United States considers Boko Haram, for the most part, a domestic problem. The three top leaders, however, are believed to be involved with international terrorism.

September 19, 2012: Police arrested the chief Boko Haram financial man (called "the accountant"). He was carrying $28,000 in cash with him. The man was travelling on a bus, on a trip that had him going to several cities to leave cash with various Boko Haram groups. The money guy was identified when one of his subordinates made some cash transfers in Kano that raised suspicions among bank officials. This was reported to police, who hunted down the suspect and got him to identify his boss and where he was travelling to.

In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, troops killed two Boko Haram leaders. In a separate raid eight Boko Haram men were arrested.

September 18, 2012: In the north (Borno State) Boko Haram killed the state attorney general.  

September 17, 2012:  In the north (Kano State) police killed the chief Boko Haram spokesman and arrested two of his companions. In a separate raid in Kano police seized 36 bombs, five rifles, ten walkie-talkies, and a lot of other material. In the northeastern city of Maiduguri troops clashed with Boko Haram, leaving at least ten dead.

September 16, 2012: In the north (Kano and Bauchi states) Boko Haram gunmen killed ten people who were drinking or playing games. Boko Haram forbids both activities and uses murders like this to encourage not doing this sort of thing, at least in public. Boko Haram continues to send death squads after members of the police, especially commanders it is trying to intimidate into inaction or collaboration.

September 14, 2012: A former oil minister was arrested and charged with financing oil stealing gangs and sharing in the profits.

September 13, 2012: In the south (Ondo State) police raided several locations and arrested 16 people for piracy and oil theft.



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