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Published 20th January 2006

Vol 47 No 2


A New Year offensive

Oil prices rise as hardline militia groups demand the release of Delta leaders and the exit of foreign companies

The main puzzle about the latest wave of attacks and kidnappings to sweep the Niger Delta is why it took so long this time. Local leaders had been predicting big trouble for the past six months. Tensions had been simmering in the lead up to next year's national elections amid a succession of security crackdowns in the Delta, while the underlying causes of the violence - 80 per cent youth unemployment, environmental despoliation and the rampant trade in stolen oil and small arms - continued to fester. There was no sign that the state governments, increasingly under scrutiny for grand corruption, were seriously addressing any of these problems. After a quietish and immensely profitable 2005, the oil majors look as if they're caught in Nigeria's headlights again.

The Sino-Shango pact

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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China's US$2.27 billion foray into oil production for a 45 per cent stake in Nigeria's Block 130 is not the 'definitive agreement' that the China National Offshore Oil Corporation ...

Hope at last

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The new government blends technocrats, dodgy names and good intentions

The great and the good lined up under the bullet-speckled walls of the National Assembly to welcome new President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on 16 January (AC Vols 46 No 25 & 47 No ...

Changing regimes

The World Bank is insisting that borrowers keep their promises on transparency

The governments of Congo-Brazzaville and Chad are at odds with the International Monetary Fund, headed by Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo, and the World Bank under its new chief, Paul W...

'Beyond that now'

The UN is to test last September's anti-war crimes resolution in Darfur

As the plight of civilians in Darfur worsens, United Nations' troops may take over from those of the African Union later this year. Yet will they have the power to intervene milita...

Poll postponed

Lengthy preparations for national elections mean no vote this year

President José Eduardo dos Santos was typically circumspect in his New Year address, when he announced that he wanted the Comissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE) to start e...

Stout party splits

The opposition has split, strengthening Mugabe's power but not his policies

Political and economic paralysis has overtaken Zimbabwe. The government does not know what to do with its two election victories of last year, apart from aiming blows at dissidents...


'Drowning season'

While Europe strives to keep out African would-be migrants, Algeria and, increasingly, Libya daily dump hundreds of them, penniless, south across the border into Niger. The Europea...

Death in the canal

On 17 December, a naked and mutilated corpse turned up in a Brussels canal. Five days later, after DNA tests, it was identified as that of Juvénal Uwingiliyimana, 54, a Rwan...

Bane of Banny

The ruling Front Populaire Ivoirien's withdrawal from the national power-sharing government on 16 January serves up the first full-blown crisis to Prime Minister Charles Konan Bann...