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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ABUJA542
2003-03-20 16:38:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

TFIZ01: NIGERIA QUIET IN WAKE OF IRAQ ATTACK

Tags:   AEMR  ASEC  CASC  KFLO  MARR  PREL  PINR  AMGT  IZ  NI 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000542 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2013
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT IZ NI
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: NIGERIA QUIET IN WAKE OF IRAQ ATTACK


Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter. Reasons 1.5 (B&D).


C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000542

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2013
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT IZ NI
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: NIGERIA QUIET IN WAKE OF IRAQ ATTACK


Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter. Reasons 1.5 (B&D).



1. (U) SUMMARY: News of the initial attack by the
Coalition of the Willing (COW) on Iraq spread rapidly.
Most Nigerians are aware hostilities have begun, but the
initial public reaction was muted. The mood now is tense
and expectant. Public response to the hostilities will
likely be delayed until tomorrow, March 21, after Friday
prayers and after potential demonstrators had an extra day
to organize. END SUMMARY.


--------------
THE MOOD
--------------



2. (SBU) Throughout the nation, Embassy contacts report no
demonstrations or violence. While Nigeria remains calm on
the surface, privately, many (especially religious leaders)
express resentment and opposition to the war. Christian
and Muslim clerics alike have called on their followers to
pray. While the Christian protesters have no convenient
timetable, the Muslims will listen attentively to Juma'at
Prayers March 21 to hear what the Imams have to say. Large
crowds associated with the Friday gatherings provide a
convenient recruitment base for demonstrations, while the
Mosques themselves offer excellent venues for launching
points.


--------------
REPORTS OF DEMONSTRATIONS UNCONFIRMED
--------------



3. (SBU) Reports of an anti-American rally in Kano March
19 and one in Abuja March 20 appear to be baseless. In
Kano, dozens of Hizba (religious police) members
demonstrated at the Kano State Government offices,
insisting that their role in implementing Shari'a in Kano
should be officially endorsed. Kano State officials
assured the Embassy they were taking the threat of violence
seriously and working to minimize the chance of any
protests taking a violent turn.



4. (SBU) In Abuja, Ambassador and PolCouns transited an
area where a 3,000 person demonstration was reportedly
taking place. They saw nothing that would indicate a
protest. A demonstration thought to be about one-third
that size did take place in the Central Area, but it
targeted the GON's failure to attack corruption. The
demonstrators evidenced no interest in Iraq, according to
Mission surveillance detection assets.



5. (C) COMMENT: It is still early in the COW campaign,
and potential protesters have not yet had time to coalesce.
Friday, March 21, will give a first indication of what we
can expect in Nigeria in response to the attack on Iraq.
JETER