Following developments in the Niger Delta is VOA reporter
Chinedu Offor. He's monitoring the situation from the town of Okigwe in Imo
State, which borders Rivers State, the scene of the violence. Chinedu spoke to
English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the situation.
and material in the form of more troops and more equipment have been deployed
to the Niger Delta by the Nigerian government. The government says it wants to
once and for all put an end to what it calls aggression by militant groups in
the Niger Delta…. The city of Port Harcourt is still under heavy security
watch. There are soldiers patrolling the area. Armed policemen are everywhere.
Armored personnel carriers are protecting key government facilities," he says.
says despite the heavy military presence, residents of Rivers State are not
fleeing to neighboring states. "The reason may be that most of the fighting is
going on in the creeks, away from most areas where there are a lot of people,
especially the city of Port Harcourt," he says.
creeks are shallow, sandy bottom waterways that wind their way through a thick
mangrove rainforest. Nigerian patrol boats are ships are too big to make their
way along the creeks. The militants use small boats. They fish in the creeks
and many have homes along them. Offor says the Nigerian military has had to
change tactics to attack the militants, who he says know the creeks "like the
back of their hand."
says the Rivers State Minister of Information says there's been success in
recruiting militants who favor a settlement with the government and using them
to fight other militants or teach the military new tactics. "This is what a lot
of people say is the split within MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the
says, "The government is now trying to use the same tactics the militants have
used successfully to attack oil facilities and government forces to attack the
Offor says that while residents of
neighboring states are concerned the violence in Rivers State will spill over,
the government has set up many checkpoints and roadblocks to help prevent that.