NIGERIA’S INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS?


The recent attack on Malabo, the Equatorial Guinean capital by gunmen suspected to be from the creeks of Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta region may just be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Three years of bloody insurgency evolving from the scraps of inter ethnic clashes and infrequent spats with multi-national oil companies to abductions has finally evolved to high profile mercenary attacks on foreign nations. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta though not fingered by Guinean’s authorities prides itself as the most formidable and outspoken insurgent group in the region; it was quick to deny the claim saying the Guinean authorities were paranoid. But there was no mistaken the fact that an early morning blitzkrieg happened in the coastal city of Malabo in the wee hours of the morning. For three hours residents hid in fear, underneath beds and in storerooms as deafening sounds of short range missile and artillery gun fire could be heard booming in the distance.

Shortly after, President Obiang told his fellow countrymen that its security forces had foiled an attack on the Presidential palace by gunmen from the creeks of the Delta; he referred to the gunmen as our eternal enemies. Already the President’s comments are attracting varied reactions. The Niger Delta militants are Obiang’s eternal enemies by choice, last year when two banks were successively raided in a brazen attack by gunmen, fingers were pointed at MEND though vehemently denied. However Obiang has other enemies which he failed to mention, a Spanish media outfit following the attacks hinted that the attack may have been carried out in a bid to free soldier of fortune-Simon Mann, who was last year sentenced to life in imprisonment for his role in a failed coup attempt. While others may blame President Obiang for being too hasty in his conclusion without waiting for proper investigations to be conducted, others could rally to his support saying you might as well talk now that you can be heard. On the South Eastern border of Nigeria, Cameroun’s President Paul Biya would gladly tell Obiang that the Niger Delta Militants have been anything but timid in its aspirations to gain notoriety and fame through brigandage.

Despite last year’s handover of the Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroun by The Hague following a long drawn-out legal battle, the last10 months have witnessed an endless cat and mouse chase in the peninsular between the militants and gendarmes. The media is rife with stories of nightfall and pre-dawn attacks by both parties on hapless civilian border communities; with both sides trading blame. However Nigeria and Cameroun have for decades been at daggers drawn; almost as far back as when Ijaw fishermen began their sojourn in search of the Golden Fleece in Malabo. The bulk this time however undoubtedly stops on the Nigerian side; its porous waterway security has not only been breached by oil pirates and buccaneers but ominously now by international terrorists reared on home turf. Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua must take heed lest the haunting words of a fellow blogger be fulfilled “..that the militants could perhaps be test running its machinery for a more sinister on the home front”

aghogho, CONNECTAFRICA

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