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Vol 37 No 3

Published 2nd February 1996


Nigeria

Who's killing who?

Bombings and arms caches mean that both sides are upping the stakes in the political crisis 

The rumblings are getting more ominous. General Sani Abacha's son killed in a plane crash, bombings in the north, tons of guns and ammunition found on the Benin border, South Africa and Burkina Faso accused of arming the opposition; all these are raising the stakes in Nigeria's political crisis. It pushes the prospect of a peaceful transition to civil rule further into the distance. Nigerians are sceptical enough to wonder who is behind the terror campaign: government or opposition? The answer is probably both. Those elements in the security forces who vigorously oppose any dialogue with civilian political groups and democracy activists have been bolstered by the climate of fear engendered by the bombings. Equally, there are civil and military opponents of Abacha who have been making common cause to unseat him, by military means if necessary. Disturbingly for Abacha, his increasingly fractious security network has been unable to counter either threat effectively.

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