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Published 10th September 2004

Vol 45 No 18


Guns, gangs and oil

Troops are moving into Port Harcourt, the oil capital, to suppress the gangster rebels

Last week, a dozen customers at a restaurant at 10 Warri Street, Port Harcourt, were machine-gunned to death at their tables by a gang of youths, who then shot dead more bystanders in Sangana St. Nobody knows who the gang was or for whom it was working. Locals assume it was another settling of scores in the bloody battle for territory and money in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. No war has been declared in Rivers State but this year gang fighting and communal clashes have been as violent as under military dictatorship in the 1990s. Once known as the 'garden city', as federal troops move in Port Harcourt is now called the 'garrison city' by environmentalist and lawyer Oronto Douglas.

On the bribe trail

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Questions are mounting about the involvement of United States' oil services company Halliburton in the distribution of US$180 million of allegedly corrupt payments on a $10 billion...

Massacre questions

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Diplomats are trying to reopen peace negotiations after the Gatumba killings

Who massacred 160 people in Burundi's Gatumba refugee camp on 13 August? It seems the answer to that risks touching off a new regional crisis (AC Vol 45 No 17). The Forces National...

The cost of border tension

After the fighting in Bukavu, Congo-Kinshasa, the Rwandan government in June closed the border for a month. The usual cross-border trade sank to an all-time low. The Rusizi river-c...

Don't criticise it, nationalise it!

The Zimbabwe government has taken powers to nationalise the assets of people it regards as enemies of the state. It works like this. A statutory instrument (part of the anti-corrup...

Déby's dilemma

The conflict in Darfur threatens N'djamena more than Khartoum

President Idriss Déby is nervous. Chadians are involved on both sides of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and the National Islamic Front government is strengthening its...

Mistake in the Movement

The MDC's election boycott is badly timed and sends the wrong signals

Just as an independent poll showed a solid gain in popularity by President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, the leaders of the opposition Movement f...


Forty days

The United Nations Security Council looks set to fail another critical test: whether it has the will to protect civilians in Darfur from being slaughtered by their own government (...

Splodges of wonga

Several businessmen whose names are on the so-called 'wonga list' obtained by South African investigators plan legal action to contest claims of their alleged involvement in a coup...

SWAPO in turmoil

An anonymous e-mail campaign against former Foreign Minister Hidipo Hamutenya threatens to undermine the governing party's image of unity in the run-up to November elections. Presi...