I've written about the possibility of renewed conflict in the Niger Delta a couple of times in the past. My last post on the topic was quite recent and was related to an attack by Delta militants on an oil facility in the region. This was one of MEND's (and related groups') principle M.O. when the conflict was in full swing, so the recent attack was a bad portent for the likelihood of continued peace in the region along with the fact that MEND said that it had "sanctioned" the attack.
Well, the other principle M.O. for Delta militants was kidnapping oil company employees. And today's news out of Nigeria is, yep, you guessed it, that 3 Britons and 1 Colombian employed by Shell Oil have been kidnapped on their way to work in the Delta. A Nigerian who was guarding them was killed in the course of the kidnapping (it says a lot about the working conditions of oil workers in the region that they have to have armed escorts to get to work).
Hopefully, these two attacks are just a blip and not a sign of worse things to come.
As I wrote about in my last post, much of the current spike in tension is related to the health situation of President Yar'Adua. Today's hopeful news is that the president, who has been incommunicado for some time now in a Saudi Arabia medical facility, finally broke his silence in an interview with the BBC:
At the moment I am undergoing treatment, and I'm getting better from the treatment. I hope that very soon there will be tremendous progress, which will allow me to get back home.