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Published 22nd October 2010

Vol 51 No 21


Nigeria

The gangs of Port Harcourt

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After the Abuja bombings, the political process turns back to the Niger Delta, where militants are frustrated by the aftermath of the amnesty deal

Bomb blasts in Abuja on 1 October killed twelve people. They could foretell more trouble to come and it is still not clear who was responsible, despite an e-mail purporting to come from a loose affiliation of militant groups in the Niger Delta (AC Vol 51 No 20). President Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the Delta, faces calls for his impeachment from northern rivals for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential nomination. National and state elections, due in January, are expected to be delayed until April, giving candidates more time to fill their war chests.


Ready for change in the Niger Delta

If the amnesty fails and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta resumes its armed struggle, figures from the past and future of Delta militancy will take charge. Some...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

It has been a bad week for Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo: the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation has politely turned down his offer of a US$300,000 prize for research scientists whose work improves the quality of life. Wide-ranging protests that Obiang had improved the quality of his own life by stealing his country’s oil money and gaoling opponents prompted UNESCO’s refusal, it seems. However, at least one former inmate of Obiang’s ga...
It has been a bad week for Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo: the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation has politely turned down his offer of a US$300,000 prize for research scientists whose work improves the quality of life. Wide-ranging protests that Obiang had improved the quality of his own life by stealing his country’s oil money and gaoling opponents prompted UNESCO’s refusal, it seems. However, at least one former inmate of Obiang’s gaols is standing by his captor. Enter Simon Mann: released from detention in Equatorial Guinea last November, just 18 months into a 34-year sentence for plotting a coup, he reported that he had been treated more like a guest than a prisoner in Malabo’s notorious Black Beach gaol. Mann’s flame-haired wife Amanda declared that President Obiang was a ‘lovely, lovely man.’ But how far has the love between these former foes developed? Mann was seen back in Malabo a few weeks ago. According to one official, he has been acting as a special advisor to Obiang. A business source in Johannesburg said he was helping to resolve a longstanding contractual dispute with South African creditors.So, how to explain this tropical Stockholm syndrome? Could it be that Black Beach has rehabilitated a repeat offender? That is harder to judge since Obiang will take no credit for Mann’s change of heart and his officials are unwilling to make further comments about any formal appointments.
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