Nigeria: The Gift Of Death Is Not Appreciated

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August 22, 2013: Boko Haram has been reduced to guerilla tactics and having problems surviving. The three years of violence turned most of the civilian population against the Islamic radicals, who have done little to curb corruption and improve the lives of northern Moslems. Instead, the Islamic radicals have led to thousands of deaths and, worst of all, disrupted the economy. The drier north was always less affluent than the south, even before the discovery of oil. Half the oil wealth was supposed to come north, and it did. But most of that was stolen by corrupt politicians and northerners have little to show for it. Boko Haram was supposed to change this but the Islamic radicals seemed more intent on forcing people to live as medieval Moslems than as more affluent and less corrupt Nigerians. So now Boko Haram is at war with just about everyone up north. They have to steal to survive and are seen as a bunch of religious bigots operating as bandits. There are still lots of unemployed young men willing to join Boko Haram and that won’t change until a lot more of the armed Islamic radicals get killed. This may well take several years to work itself out.

The army is claiming that troops may have shot the Boko Haram leader (Abubakar Sheka) during one of several clashes with the Islamic terrorists between July 25th and August 3rd, and intelligence indicates that Sheka probably died of his wounds. In effect, the military is challenging Boko Haram to provide “proof of life” for Abubakar Sheka (as in an Internet video that clearly took place very recently). Not all army intel analysts are convinced that Sheka is injured, but all agree that putting this challenge out there forces Boko Haram to do something that might provide more information on what shape they are in and what they are up to. Boko Haram already released one video on August 13th that featured someone trying to pass himself off as Sheka. This was not widely accepted as authentic. Reports from Cameroon indicate that a badly wounded Sheka was brought to a Boko Haram camp on the Cameroon side of the border in early August. Cameroon security officials are having a hard time following up on that because the border is sparsely populated, the Boko Haram camps hard to find, and the Islamic terrorists are heavily armed and have no problem with killing curious Cameroon police or soldiers who show up uninvited.

The government is under growing pressure in the Christian south to do something about the continuing attacks on Christians in the north. So far, there have been few retaliatory attacks on the Moslem minority in the south. This despite the fact that at least fifty churches have been attacked up there since last year and nearly 400 Christians killed. Outside of churches Boko Haram has attacked Christians over 30 times killing nearly 200.

The oil industry issued a clarification to the data used by the media and government about how much oil is lost to theft. It is generally believed that 490,000 barrels of oil are stolen from pipelines each day. Oil industry officials point out that their records indicate only about 400,000 barrels a day are disappearing because of the thieves punching holes in the pipelines and most (over 85 percent) of that oil is not taken but ends up in the water or ground. The thieves are only getting away with, at most, 50,000 barrels a day. The wasted oil is a major source of pollution that the oil companies, not the thieves, get blamed for.

August 21, 2013:  In the northeast (Borno state) Boko Haram attacked a police station, killing two policemen while losing seven of their own and being repulsed. Elsewhere in Borno Boko Haram gunmen attacked the home of an anti-Boko Haram militia leader killing four people.

August 20, 2013: In the northeast (Kaduna state) gunmen battled with police, killing three of them. The attackers were believed to be heavily armed Boko Haram men, apparently seeking to do a little armed robbery for the cause.

August 18, 2013: The army announced it is organizing a new army division (the 7th Infantry Division) that will be stationed in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. This indicates the army is treating Boko Haram as a long-term problem while also dealing with the morale problems of troops being away from their home bases for so long.

In the Niger River Delta the navy conducted a raid on a remote waterway where pirates were hiding a small tanker they had hijacked. Twelve of the pirates were killed and four captured. The tanker was carrying 17,000 tons of vehicle fuel that the pirates were seeking to sell into the black market. They erred in believing they could keep the tanker hidden from aerial reconnaissance.

August 16, 2013: In the northeast (Gombe state) police battled armed Boko Haram men, killing seven of them and pursuing others.

August 15, 2013: In the northeast (Borno state) some fifty Boko Haram men drove into the rural town of Damboa and opened fire killing eleven soldiers and civilians before they drove away. The army brought up more troops to find the attackers, who appeared to have dispersed after they left the town.

August 14, 2013: The army revealed that troops had killed the number two leader of Boko Haram during an August 4th clash that left 18 of the Islamic terrorists dead.

August 13, 2013: In the northeast (Adamawa state) troops raided a Boko Haram hideout, killed two leaders, and captured six other Islamic terrorists. Four other Boko Haram were believed to have escaped. Weapons, ammo, and cash were seized.

The military also revealed two Boko Haram revenge attacks over the weekend in the northeast (Borno state). On Sunday a mosque was attacked and 44 civilians were killed because the Islamic radicals believed the mosque members were providing the police with information. The day before Boko Haram attacked a nearby village and killed twelve civilians for the same reason.

 

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