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Published 17th March 2006

Vol 47 No 6


Nigeria

Showdown in the Delta

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Everyone is getting ready for more hostilities in the oil-producing regions as the 2007 elections approach

The militants know that hostage-taking and cutting pipelines is the quickest way to draw international attention to the Niger Delta, as part of the cat and mouse game between them, government officials and oil companies. Sharp differences on tactics in the Delta are emerging between Nigeria and some Western countries whose oil companies operate there. A new wave of militant groups, better armed and better trained, mix commercial and political objectives as they pressure government and oil companies (AC Vol 47 No 2). Nine foreign hostages were taken following clashes last month focusing more attention on the crisis. An initial round of negotiations yielded the release of six on 1 March. Since then the crisis has escalated over the fate of the remaining three: two Americans and a Briton.


Stealing, fighting, seeking power

Some of the militant leaders linked to the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta earn tens of thousands of dollars from contracts with the oil majors. The FNDIC leaders King...


Exporting the vote

Overseas citizens help pay Ghana's bills and want to elect its next government

Some three million Ghanaians living overseas are entitled to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, since President John Agyekum Kufuor signed the Representation of the ...


In the hole

The government keeps digging for corruption but sinks lower as it digs

The clumsy midnight attack by government agents on The Standard and KTN Television, both owned by the family of former President Daniel arap Moi, on 1 March looked like a desperate...


Zuma speaks

Accusing some government officials of trying to destroy him over the past five years, besieged former Deputy President Jacob Zuma told Africa Confidential that he had a duty to fig...


Biting the snake

'If you prod a rattlesnake, you must be prepared to be bitten', is how Kenya's Internal Security Minister, John Njoroge Michuki, explained the police raids on the night of 1 March....


Remaking Guebuza

The businessman President talks of free markets but not of freer politics

The makeover is complete. Step forward President Armando Emilio Guebuza, the thoroughly modern reformer. In the days of Marxist revolution and civil war, when the ruling Frente de ...


Local grumbles

People are fed up with local ANC politicians but trust their national party

Local elections offered South Africans their chance to punish the governing African National Congress. Its urban record is grim: in several areas, there have been riots against poo...


The Cahora Bassa takeover

The great hydroelectric barrage at Cahora Bassa, on the Zambezi River, has a rated capacity of 2,075 megawatts, is one of Africa's largest dams and has been a centre of contention ...



Pointers

Tentative

Secret talks in London on 10 March between American lawyers may help unblock the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia, that killed 50-100,000 people in 1998-2000. Both gover...


Divided on debt

Western creditors are divided over negotiating strategy on the rescheduling of Luanda's official debts to the Paris Club, which make up about half of its US$9.7 billion foreign deb...


Professional risks

The murder of Robert Feliciaggi in the car park of Corsica's Ajaccio airport on 10 March raises embarrassing questions in Africa and France. Feliciaggi owned casinos, lotteries and...