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Vol 50 No 11

Published 29th May 2009


The fight gets more serious

President Umaru Yar'Adua's government is letting the military take the initiative in the Delta at the expense of a political solution

The latest government offensive in the Niger Delta is the heaviest for several years, with 3,000 troops, two warships, 14 boats and at least four helicopter gunships moving into Gbaramatu Kingdom, an Ijaw region in the Western Delta near Chevron's Escravos oil facility. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta responded by destroying five of Chevron's nearby pipelines. MEND has a diffuse but well-armed network of fighters, with up to five training bases hidden in the creeks and a well-run system of weapon caches. Gang leaders who sign up to MEND keep their own camps and bases.

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