February 20, 2006

"Spreading Democracy" Update: Where's Africa?

News from Nigeria:
Three Americans, two Thais, two Egyptians, a Briton and Filipino were abducted on Saturday while laying a pipeline for Shell.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said it will decide the hostages' fate "in the coming days".

The group has threatened more attacks, including firing rockets at tankers...

Shell has suspended loading from its Forcados export terminal, which was damaged in the series of pre-dawn attacks on Saturday, cutting Nigerian oil exports by about 15%.
Didn't see much of that story on my breakfast TV news this morning (just a very brief mention in the Finance bit). So who are these people? Not exactly Al Quaeda:
The group wants greater control of the oil wealth produced on their land.

Nigeria is Africa's leading oil exporter and the fifth-biggest source of US oil imports. But despite its oil wealth, many Nigerians live in abject poverty.
A bit of background:
Nigeria exports about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil a day, but is then forced to buy back petrol, diesel and other refined fuels from non-oil producing countries, such as Spain, at a far higher price...

Two thirds of Nigeria's population is still living on less than $1 a day...

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