Docstoc

Akwa Ibom Oil Rig Attacked

Document Sample
Akwa Ibom Oil Rig Attacked Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                      Akwa Ibom Oil Rig Attacked

The following report is based on open source reporting.

November 10, 2010

Akwa Ibom Oil Rig Attacked
                                                                       At approximately 1:00 a.m. on November
                                                                       8, Nigerian gunmen attacked an oil rig off
                                                                       the coast of Akwa Ibom state, a Niger
                                                                       Delta province in southeastern Nigeria,
                                                                       kidnapping five crew members and
                                                                       wounding another. Preliminary reports
                                                                       have attributed responsibility to Nigeria’s
                                                                       most prominent militant group, the
                                                                       Movement for the Emancipation of the
                                                                       Niger Delta (MEND); however, MEND is a
                                                                       decentralized      organization       serving
                                                                       primarily as an umbrella organization for
                                                                       criminal gangs. Therefore, the attack may
                                                                       have been perpetrated by criminals
                                                                       seeking to exploit the “MEND brand” for
                                                                       their own purposes. The incident occurred
                                                                       as an e-mail was sent to journalists
                                                                       warning that a series of new attacks would
                                                                       be launched on oil installations in the Niger
Delta in the coming days. Specific details of the incident are unclear, but, these types of attacks are
certainly not unheard of in the country. Sabotage of oil facilities and kidnappings for ransom have
occurred frequently in the region. Analysts are concerned that this attack could foreshadow a resumption
of hostilities, which is particularly troubling in light of Nigeria’s impending federal elections in April 2011.

Previous Incidents

In September, alleged MEND militants abducted three French oil workers and a Thai national from an oil
platform off Bonny Island after a raid that led to a fierce shootout with Nigerian Naval authorities. In
October, unprecedented twin car bombings in the capital city Abuja carried out during 50th Anniversary
Independence celebrations were attributed to Henry Okah, a prominent Niger Delta arms dealer with
alleged loose ties to MEND. These incidents are perpetrated for a variety of reasons. Kidnapping is a
lucrative enterprise in Nigeria, with ransom demands drawing large sums. Many militants claim to be
fighting for a more equitable distribution of oil revenue, citing alleged abuses by the federal government.
An amnesty deal instituted in 2009 by the federal government as an effort to encourage militants to
transition to a non-criminal lifestyle was somewhat successful in reducing unrest in the Niger Delta.

While almost all major militant leaders accepted the offer and the amnesty remains in effect, incidents of
violence and kidnapping, though significantly reduced, remain common occurences. Ex-militants who are
involved in the amnesty program have consistently expressed grievances regarding inadequate pay,
often alleging that they are owed weeks pay in arrears. There have been protests with respect to this
issue, For example, on November 8 over 200 troubled ex-militants barricaded the Mbiama-Yenagoa
Junction axis of the East/West road linking Bayelsa State with Rivers State in an effort to draw attention
to the non-payment of the amnesty stipend. In addition to protests, intermittent attacks on oil pipelines
and state facilities have continued, as well as the practice of kidnapping. In March, militants detonated
  The contents of this (U) presentation in no way represent the policies, views, or attitudes of the United States Department of
 State, or the United States Government, except as otherwise noted (e.g., travel advisories, public statements). The presentation
 was compiled from various open sources and (U) embassy reporting. Please note that all OSAC products are for internal U.S.
 private sector security purposes only. Publishing or otherwise distributing OSAC-derived information in a manner inconsistent
                               with this policy may result in the discontinuation of OSAC support.
two bombs outside of a state government facility during amnesty program negotiations in Warri, Delta
state. Eight people were killed and buildings in the area were damaged as a result of this attack. MEND
claimed responsibility.

Implications for OSAC constituents

Expatriates and Western-based companies have often been targeted for kidnappings and facility
takeovers in the Niger Delta region. These incidents have stemmed from local community disputes,
political activism, and nefarious criminal enterprises. While attacks against pipelines and oil facilities have
largely subsided as a result of the amnesty deal, kidnappings for ransom, particularly against Nigerians,
have increased. While the kidnappers generally are more concerned with securing ransoms than harming
hostages, their actions frequently involve some level of violence and could result in severe injury or death.
The U.S. government recommends only essential travel to the Niger Delta and neighboring states such
as Imo and Abia.

Many foreign oil companies operating in the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers
have implemented “essential travel only” policies for their personnel. U.S. Mission Nigeria currently
requires advance permission for U.S. government travel to these states, as well as the states of Abia,
Edo, and Imo, the city of Jos in Plateau State, and Bauchi and Borno States given the safety and security
risk assessments and the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General's limited ability to provide assistance
to people detained by Nigerian authorities in these states. U.S. citizens who are resident in these states
are advised to review their personal security in accordance with the most recent Travel Warning for
Nigeria.

For Further Information

Please direct any questions regarding this report or the general security situation in Nigeria to OSAC’s
Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa.




  The contents of this (U) presentation in no way represent the policies, views, or attitudes of the United States Department of
 State, or the United States Government, except as otherwise noted (e.g., travel advisories, public statements). The presentation
 was compiled from various open sources and (U) embassy reporting. Please note that all OSAC products are for internal U.S.
 private sector security purposes only. Publishing or otherwise distributing OSAC-derived information in a manner inconsistent
                               with this policy may result in the discontinuation of OSAC support.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:18
posted:2/19/2011
language:English
pages:2