- Title: NIGERIA: Military search for militants in the oil rich Niger Delta
- Date: 20th November 2010
- Summary: BAYELSA, NIGERIA (NOVEMBER 18, 2010) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) SOLDIERS WALKING TO BOARD BOATS TO GO ON MISSION VARIOUS SOLDIERS GETTING INTO BOATS BAYELSA, NIGERIA (NOVEMBER 18, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS SOLDIERS IN SPEED BOATS IN THE NIGER RIVER DELTA VARIOUS OF MILITARY UNIT PATROLLING IN JUNGLE VARIOUS OF MILITANT CAMP SOLDIER SETTING FIRE TO MILITANT SHELTER SOUNDBITE (English) COLONEL VICTOR EZEGWU, SECTOR 2 COMMANDER OF THE MILITARY JOINT TASK FORCE, SAYING "We have taken over the camp of Boyloaf. We have taken over the camp of Alex Watchman (unintelligable) here we are at (unintelligable) taken over the camp of pastor Ruben." MILITANT'S MAGIC SHRINE MILITARY SEARCHING FOR WEAPONS AT THE MILITANT CAMP
- Embargoed: 5th December 2010 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVA3W1N7C8DJQX2O4EMD4Q0E1VV0
- Story Text: Nigeria's military were patrolling the creeks of the Niger Delta on Thursday (November 18) in a continuing effort to flush out armed gangs who have been carrying out kidnappings of foreigners from oil installations in the region.
The security forces rescued 19 hostages -- two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians, one Canadian and 12 Nigerians --from a camp in the mangrove creeks late on Wednesday in what the government heralded as a major victory.
The joint military task force responsible for policing the region said it had taken over several militant camps and that an operation to secure others was "ongoing".
"We have taken over the camp of Boyloaf. We have taken over the camp of Alex Watchman (unintelligable) here we are at (unintelligable) taken over the camp of pastor Ruben," said Colonel Victor Ezegwu, Sector 2 Commander of the Joint Task Force.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militant group says it will carry out more kidnappings from oil facilities and claimed to have killed several soldiers in an ambush of military gunboats.
Resurgent unrest in the Niger Delta risks undermining the credibility of President Goodluck Jonathan in the run-up to elections next April. Jonathan is the first head of state from the oil region and brokered an amnesty with militants last year.
MEND's main field commanders accepted the amnesty, and at least two of them, Farah Dagogo and Boyloaf, were instrumental in the negotiations which led to the 19 hostages being released.
But the militants were always factionalised and new leaders have started to emerge. The hostages were held by a new field commander called Obese, a former Dagogo gang member, and the military wants to ensure such figures cannot gain a foothold.
Nigeria's more muscular military approach may put newly emerging militants on the back foot, but it will be impossible to fully guard oil facilities against sabotage and piracy.
Shell on Friday declared force majeure on its Bonny Light oil exports after a pipeline was damaged, freeing it from shipment obligations, though there was no immediate evidence of links to militant activity.
Previous campaigns by MEND fighters have knocked out a significant chunk of Nigeria's oil production, currently averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), and cost it as much as $1 billion a month in lost revenues.
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