Posted by jinn on 14th September 2009
Last week, it was reported that the Nigerian government is gearing up for another offensive in the Niger Delta, despite the government’s pledge to support an amnesty and a 60-day ceasefire and the widespread belief that a military offensive will not solve the crisis in the the Delta. Below is an analysis by the Director of the African Security Research Project
Analysis by Daniel Volman, Director of the African Security Research Project
Reprinted from Inter Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep 13 (IPS) – There is mounting evidence that the government of Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua is set to launch a full-scale offensive in the Niger Delta when a ceasefire declared by rebels ends on Sep. 15.
And this time, Nigerian military forces will be using special warships, helicopter gunships and troop transports, and unmanned drone intelligence planes and ships sold to Nigeria by Israeli, Malaysian, Singaporean, Dutch and Russian companies.
Israeli and Russian instructors have been providing specialised training to Nigerian Navy and Air Force sailors and pilots in how to operate the ships and helicopters over the past few months, and some of these instructors may help operate them during the offensive.
On Jul. 15, President Yar’adua declared a 60-day amnesty for members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the armed group that has been conducting an insurgency campaign in the Delta for the past five years. The amnesty offer is set to expire at midnight on Oct. 4.