Активность 4 дней назад
dewapoker - http://personalzfdnsrloan.org/dewapoker-masban88-menyediakan-berbagai-macam-permainan-judi-online/ . The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group that has been attacking Nigeria's oil infrastructure since early this year, is anything but new, according to those familiar with the region.
Despite their fresh name, it was only a matter of time before the militants returned to the swamps and creeks of the delta region, the sources said.
The "boys" behind years of violence a decade ago surrendered their guns in 2009 when the government introduced an amnesty programme for militants, once described as a "bribe for peace".
This picture taken on June 8, 2016 shows a water way in the Niger Delta ©Stefan Heunis (AFP/File)
Thousands stopped bombing oil pipelines to go overseas for skills training as divers, welders and boat builders using monthly stipends of 65,000 naira, which at the time was worth $400.
Then last year President Muhammadu Buhari announced he was planning to wind down the programme as well as lucrative pipeline security contracts to save money for the cash-strapped government.
"That infuriated everybody," said Silva Ofugara, chairman of the Ekpan-Uvwie community in the oil town of Warri in Delta state.
The militants had been getting something from the government, a monetary acknowledgement that they too should benefit from Nigeria's vast oil wealth.
People thought they could leave their lives as guerilla fighters behind and focus on a new future.
"A year ago nobody wanted to go back to the creeks," Ofugara told AFP alongside local leader Ufuoma "White Don" Ikaka, wearing a black leather jacket and shirt the colour of the US Stars and Stripes.
But Buhari's announcement changed their minds. For many, the amnesty money was their only income.
"This brought boys to the roundtable to prepare for the next phase."
- 'Kegs of gunpowder' -
Leading the charge are the Niger Delta Avengers, a previously unheard of group, which has claimed a series of attacks on pipelines and facilities mostly in Delta and Bayelsa states.
They have targeted facilities operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as well as local subsidiaries of Shell, Chevron and Eni.
In the impoverished region, the Avengers are anything but unknown.
"The only way they know how to survive is pulling a trigger," said Uche Ifukor, project manager at the Warri-based non-profit organisation AA PeaceWorks.
The militants never found jobs in Warri despite it being home to the biggest oil fields in Africa, he added.
Each militant kingpin -- or "civilian general" -- still commands legions of men from the days before the amnesty deal, Ifukor said.
The generals are effectively the "godfathers" of the oil mafias that run the creeks. Ifukor called them "kegs of gunpowder... just waiting for the wrong move".
- Anarchy returns -
The attacks have cut oil production to some 1.6 million barrels per day, well down from a budgeted 2.2 million bpd, as global prices remain low, sending Nigeria's economy into a tailspin.
In response, the army has started invading river land villages, hunting for the Avengers and the influential militant kingpin-turned-businessman Government "Tompolo" Ekpemupolo, who has been on the run since he was charged last year with corruption.
The result: a return to anarchy in the delta, shootouts between militants and soldiers -- and Ijaw civilians, the dominant ethnic group in the region, caught in the crossfire.
The villages of Okerenkoko and Kuritie in the Gbaramatu Kingdom, the region of snaking waterways stretching from Chevron's Escravos terminal on the Atlantic Ocean coast to Warri, have been abandoned.
People fear a repeat of air raids in 2009 that levelled communities in the final weeks before the government and Tompolo hammered out the amnesty deal.
"The average life in Gbaramatu Kingdom is brutish, short. I just buried my sister yesterday," said Chief Godspower Gbenekama, of the Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Floral Joel was selling wares in a houseboat on June 1. Soldiers chasing militants opened fire on the boat, shooting the 42-year-old mother of five in the heart, he added.
"My sister paid a supreme price," he said. "As it is, every Ijaw man is an Avenger. We are an endangered species."
- Muzzled hyenas? -
Not everyone in Nigeria is sympathetic to the Avengers, whose demands include self-determination for the delta region and the withdrawal of foreign oil majors.
One recent newspaper editorial depicted the militants as unleashed hyenas who had been muzzled by the amnesty and security contract cash doled out by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Yet without peace in the Niger delta, which produces the bulk of Nigeria's oil, Buhari will struggle to source funds needed to kick-start the economy during its worst slowdown in a decade.
"The best case scenario is the Avengers agree to hold talks with the government, and some form of compromise is made whereby the government gives payments in order to stop further attacks," said Rhidoy Rashid, an analyst at London-based Energy Aspects.
"Worst case is the attacks continue, and even worse turn violent. They are more than just aggrieved locals and have access to sophisticated weaponry and funding."
An advertising board concerning the oil pipeline vandalization in the City of Warri in Delta State on June 10, 2016 ©Stefan Heunis (AFP/File)
An aerial view shows oil storage tanks at Chevron Texaco's Escravos export terminal in southern Nigeria's Niger Delta, 30 March 2003 ©Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/File)
Creeks and vegetations devastated as a result of spills from oil thieves and Shell operational failures in Niger Delta on March 22, 2013 ©Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/File)
By Tife Owolabi and Ulf Laessing
YENAGOA/ABUJA, Nigeria, May 13 (Reuters) - They call themselves the Niger Delta Avengers. Little is known about the new radical group that has claimed a series of pipeline bombings in Nigeria's oil-producing region this year and evaded gunboats and soldiers trawling swamps and villages.
Their attacks have driven Nigerian oil output to near a 22-year low and, if the violence escalates into another insurgency in the restive area, it could cripple production in a country facing a growing economic crisis.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will crush the militants, but a wide-scale conflict could stretch security forces already battling a northern rebellion by hardline Sunni Muslim group Boko Haram.
Militancy has been rife over the past decade in the Delta, a southern region which is one of the country's poorest areas despite generating 70 percent of state income.
Violence has increased sharply this year - most of it claimed by the "Avengers" - after Buhari scaled back an amnesty deal with rebel groups, which had ended a 2004-2009 insurgency.
Under the deal, more state cash was channelled to the region for job training and dewapoker militant groups were handed contracts to protect the pipelines they once bombed. But Buhari cut the budget allocated to the plan by about 70 percent and cancelled the contracts, citing corruption and mismanagement of funds.
The "Avengers" have carried out a string of attacks since February that reduced Nigerian oil output by at least 300,000 barrels a day of output, and shut down two refineries and a major export terminal.
On Thursday the group emailed journalists a statement saying they were fighting for an independent Delta and would step up their attacks unless oil firms left the region within two weeks.
"If at the end of the ultimatum you are still operating, we will blow up all the locations," it said. "It will be bloody. So just shut down your operations and leave."
"To international oil companies, this is just the beginning and you have not seen anything yet. We will make you suffer," it said.
Authorities have no hard facts about the group - such as its size, bases or leadership, Nigeria-based diplomats say.
Diplomats and security experts say it has shown a level of sophistication not seen since the peak of the 2004-2009 insurgency, which halved Nigeria's oil output. They say it must be getting help from sympathetic oil workers in identifying the pipelines to cause maximum damage.
"Its scary. Their demands are impossible to meet so there will be probably more attacks," said a security expert, asking not to be named.
In February the group claimed an attack on an undersea pipeline, forcing Shell to shut a 250,000 barrels a day Forcados terminal. Last week, it took credit for blasting a Chevron platform, shutting the Warri and Kaduna refineries. Power outages across Nigeria worsened as gas supplies were also affected.
There have been other smaller attacks and this week another explosion, which bore the hallmarks of the group, closed Shell's Bonny Light export programme.
Reuters, like other media, has been unable to reach the group, which mainly communicates via Twitter, with the location tracker switched off, and on its website.
Its members describe themselves there as "young, well travelled" and mostly educated in eastern Europe.
Given the lack of intelligence about the militants, the army launched a wide-ranging hunt across the Delta this week, sending gunboats into mosquito-infested creeks and searching villages in the middle of the night.
But some residents say such a heavy-handed military approach stokes dissent in the Delta where many complain of poverty despite sitting on much of Nigeria's energy wealth. They say some villagers help militants to hide in the hard-to-access swamps.
"The military came at 12.30 am with two gunboats ... they went from house to house. Many ran into the bush," said Godspower Gbenekemam, chief of the Gbaramatu area.
"The military stayed on until about 5.30 am, during which nobody was able to move out," he said. "We are not part of the people blowing up pipelines. We do not know them so the military should leave our community alone."
Alagoa Morris, an environmental activist based in the Delta, said unless soldiers acted with restraint, more people would join the militants, with a risk of "the Niger Delta returning to another round of full-scale militancy".
Even oil majors, which have long pressed for better pipeline protection, worry the tactics could backfire.
Executives met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo this week and one of them warned the government was being "too direct and blunt" and needed to find some balance, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
The military has not said how many soldiers have been involved in the sweep. The army searched several villages around Gbaramatu because that part of the Delta is home to former militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo.
Some officials have linked Tompolo to the "Avengers", pointing to the fact that the attacks began after authorities issued an arrest warrant for Tompolo on graft charges in January.
Tompolo has denied any ties, saying he himself is a victim as the group had asked him to apologise for criticising it.
For Buhari, the campaign against former militants is a part of his election promise to fix a country gripped by graft and mismanagement, but many locals in the Christian south see him, a Muslim northerner, as an oppressor.
Buhari's cutting of the amnesty plan's budget has also caused widespread resentment in the Delta, as it helps fund job training for the unemployed.
Tapping into such anger, the "Avengers" point out that the former military ruler has never visited the Delta, where many roads are pot-holed and some villages are polluted from oil spills.
In a flurry of statements, the militants have published a list of demands, from cleaning up oil spills to keeping the amnesty plan, leading up to Thursday's ultimatum.
Diplomats say some of Tompolo's followers have probably joined the "Avengers" and that the group's ranks could be swelled by an army of unemployed willing to work for anyone.
But, adding to the confusion surrounding the group, some former rebels have denied knowledge of the militants and say they have brought unwanted military attention to the area.
"Niger Delta Avengers are not fighting for the sake of Niger Delta," said Eris Paul, a former leader of the now-defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which was one of the most powerful militant groups. "We don't know them." (Additional reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu, Ron Bousso and Libbby George; Editing by Pravin Char)