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Vol 43 No 9

Published 3rd May 2002


Nigeria

Khaki blues, business suits

Civilian rule, even by a retired general, does not suit the army

The army is back at the centre of politics, three years after it handed over to an elected government whose head, President Olusegun Obasanjo, is himself a recycled military leader. There are two big, seemingly contradictory, worries about the army. Is it cohesive enough to deal with growing political and communal violence in the lead up to next year's elections? And will communal violence, rising crime and anger about government corruption encourage officers to grab back the power and money they so recently lost? In seven states, the army has stopped riots and separated hostile groups. Where the police have failed to tackle crime or defend threatened communities, partisan vigilante groups such as the Bakassi Boys and the Od'ua People's Congress offer a dangerous substitute.

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