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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04LAGOS2011
2004-09-30 14:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

DELTA VIOLENCE UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 30

Tags:   MOPS  CASC  EPET  PGOV  NI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 002011 

SIPDIS

OFFICIAL INFORMAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2009
TAGS: MOPS CASC EPET PGOV NI
SUBJECT: DELTA VIOLENCE UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 30

REF: A. ABUJA 1675

B. ABUJA 1673

C. LAGOS 1998

D. LAGOS 1982

E. LAGOS 1978

F. ABUJA 1656

G. ABUJA 1486

H. LAGOS 1892

I. LAGOS 1820

Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for Reasons 1.5 (B & D)

Summary
--------



1. (S) Local press headlined today with news of
government meetings with Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force
(NDPVF) leader Asari in Abuja and purported cease-fire
agreement. NGO and energy company contacts stated that the
situation in Port Harcourt was less tense. Production
remains unchanged. There have been no reports on incidents
involving
Americans. Apparently rival Delta militant leader Ateke Tom
also has traveled to Abuja to participate in talks with the
GON, and the GON has summoned Rivers State Governor Odili as
well. Local press is now openly discussing the Joint Task
Force Operation Flush Out.

Security Update


--------------------------





2. (U) Local press headlined today with news of
government meetings with Niger Delta People's Volunteer
Force (NPDVF) leader Asari in Abuja, stating that the GON
and Asari had agreed to a cease-fire. See reftel Abuja 1675.



3. (C) Marine and Naval Attache returned 30 September from
a 3-day trip to the Port Harcourt area. His NGO and oil
company sources indicates the overall security situation in
Port Harcourt is quiet, particularly in the city itself. His
sources tended to discount Asari's assertion that he was the
head a genuine Ijaw malcontent movement. They saw Asari as a
political thug/bunkerer who was trying to cloak himself with
Ijaw populism in order to vieil the illicit pecuniary
activities that are his real motivators. However, he
explained that there are oil facilities or personnel, whether
due to their geographical location or operational nature,
that have minimal or no real security protection and that are
vunerable to the local gangs. While the Attache's contacts
largely downplayed the possibility of a large-scale operation
by the local militias, they prediced that small-scale attacks
typical of the delta region may continue as usual. Further
reporting on the Attache's visit to Port Harcourt will be
transmitted via DOD channels.



4. (S) The Attache also notes that he has received
information that rival Delta militant leader Ateke Tom
traveled to Abuja on 29 September, (separately from Asari),
to participate in talks with the GON. He notes there are
rumors that Asari has been talking to the GON for several
weeks. He also was informed that that the GON has summoned
Rivers State
Governor Odili to Abuja as well.



5. (U) Unconfirmed press stated that the GON soldiers
conducted an operation in attacked the Gbali community in
Degema local government area of Rivers on September 23 and
29, in search of bunkerers who had reportedly disarmed
military personnel guarding oil installations in the area.
The press quoted a resident saying, that the town is now a
"ghost town taken over by the military in under terrible
occupation and seizure." Army PRO Second Brigade Nigerian
Army Port Harcourt confirmed the military had visited the
town twice in the last 10 days, uncovering an unidisclosed
quantity of arms and ammunition in village.

Reports from the Energy Sector


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Shell: Shell External Relations Director was
optimistic about the ceasefire and GON discussions with
Asari. There are no changes in the Shell production
situation.



7. (C) Chevron Texaco: The Chevron Texaco MDof Onshore
Operations reported that the situation in Port Harcourt is
calmer, given the news of a cease-fire. Chevron continues to
operate at regular production levels. Chevron Texaco
Environmental and Safety officer seconded this assessment.
She also detailed the security arrangements under which
Chevron personnel are currently operating: Chevron uses a
5-tier
security system; they are currently at tier 3 in Port
Harcourt, which prohibits movement of any Chevron
personnel without a GON armed escort.



8. (U) Forosal Drilling: Forosal Drilling contacts also
indicated that the situation in Port Harcourt was calm.

ACS Update


--------------------------





9. (SBU) There have been no reports on incidents
involving Americans.

Press


--------------------------





10. (U) While the Nigerian press was somewhat reluctant to
cover military operations in the Delta, the dailies have not
been bashful about covering the purported ceasefire. Most
major newspapers awarded front page coverage to GON-Asari
talks. One paper headlined with news that the "U.S. directs
citizens to quit Niger Delta," quoting related statements
from DOS spokesman Richard Boucher.
BROWNE