Nigeria says countries around the Gulf of Guinea should work together
to make the region safer. Gunmen, allegedly from Nigeria, attacked
Equatorial Guinea's presidential palace, last week. The Gulf of Guinea
has seen persistent acts of piracy, in recent years.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo
Maduekwe says last week's assault on Equatorial Guinea's presidential
palace was a wake-up call for countries in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea
to join forces to deal with armed groups out to destabilize the region.
are attacking us. Are they not? Are Niger Delta militants not
attacking institutions of the federal government? All the countries
within the Gulf of Guinea are being affected, in one way or the other,
which strength of credence to the need for the Gulf of Guinea guards'
scheme. So, we all share the same vulnerabilities and we must work
together to confront the challenge against each one of us," said
The authorities in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, on the
west coast of Africa, had accused the gunmen who took part in last
Tuesday's sea-borne attack of being member of the Movement for the
Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a Nigerian militant group.
which regularly attacks oil facilities in southern Nigeria, saying it
is fighting for a greater share of the region's oil resource, has
denied any involvement. The group says the Nigerian government was
behind the strike. The government has rejected the claim and issued a
strong denunciation of the assault.
Security analysts and
diplomats warn that shipping and oil operations in the Gulf of Guinea
are under serious threat, following an increase in the number of daring
attacks in waters off West Africa. Criminal gangs in speed boats have
launched raids on targets in neighboring countries.
International Maritime Bureau says more than 100 pirate attacks
occurred off West Africa in 2008. West African navies are ill-equipped
to protect shipping and to fight off the non-state actors, such as
The Gulf of Guinea holds growing strategic importance as a result of its substantial under-exploited oil and gas reserves.