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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06LAGOS306
2006-02-28 16:42:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: HOSTAGE-TAKING, SITREP #12

Tags:   EPET  PGOV  ASEC  PTER  KHLS  PINR  ETRD  CASC  NI 
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VZCZCXRO1971
OO RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0306/01 0591642
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 281642Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6690
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 0075
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 0123
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR IMMEDIATE 0682
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0557
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA IMMEDIATE 0097
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000306 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS JBRODMAN AND CGAY
TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS AND SRENENDER
COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF, AF/EX, DS/IP/OPO, DS/ICI/PII, DS/DSS/ITA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2016
TAGS: EPET PGOV ASEC PTER KHLS PINR ETRD CASC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: HOSTAGE-TAKING, SITREP #12

REF: LAGOS 297 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Acting Pol/Econ Chief Shannon Ross for Reasons 1.4 (D &
E)

----------------------
Hostage Welfare Update
----------------------

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000306

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE PASS DOE FOR DAS JBRODMAN AND CGAY
TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS AND SRENENDER
COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF, AF/EX, DS/IP/OPO, DS/ICI/PII, DS/DSS/ITA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2016
TAGS: EPET PGOV ASEC PTER KHLS PINR ETRD CASC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: HOSTAGE-TAKING, SITREP #12

REF: LAGOS 297 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Acting Pol/Econ Chief Shannon Ross for Reasons 1.4 (D &
E)

--------------
Hostage Welfare Update
--------------


1. (C) Shell, GON and other sources report the anticipated
release of some of the hostages this morning was delayed
because Delta State Governor Ibori announced the release and
publicly claimed credit before the deal was sealed. Governor
Ibori told Econoff additional medicine and Willbros letters
to the hostages were delivered to them Sunday.


2. (C) The Thai families have declined to send letters to
their hostages, citing personal reasons. The Thai Ambassador
to Kenya will attempt to intervene. Otherwise, letters to
the other hostages from their families will be dispatched
shortly, and the Thai Ambassador will send letters to the
Thai hostages.

--------------
Negotiations Update
--------------


3. (S) Governor Ibori told Econoff the kidnappers blame the
delay on ongoing funeral rites for Government Ekpemukpolo's
cousin, but he expects all of the hostages to be released by
mid-week. Chief Edwin Clark, a member of Ibori's negotiating
committee, claims the kidnappers' demand for a guarantee of
no reprisals is the primary holdup in the negotiations.
(Comment: The "official" negotiating channels through
Governor Ibori and Chief Edwin Clark are providing little of
substance, and they avoid meeting face-to-face. End
comment.) Other Econoff sources say Clark is ineffective and

they don't trust him. A federal government official says the
hostage-takers have contacted them for negotiations rather
than talk to Delta State officials. A Federated Niger Delta
Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) source told Econoff two foreign
journalists would be going to the creeks to see some of the
hostages this afternoon, but later the trip was called off
because the creeks were unsafe.


4. (S) FNDIC sources in Warri told Econoff more about the
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). The
sources claimed MEND is FNDIC splinter group consisting of
50-100 of the more militant members led by Government
Ekpemukpolo and two other radical former FNDIC leaders.
(Note: The sources confirmed the description provided by
January hostage Patrick Landry of his captors' leader matches
Ekpemukpolo. End note.) The sources say Ekpemukpolo, leader
of the Ijaw militants since Dokubo Asari was arrested, is
afraid for his life, and launched the latest kidnapping to
gain human shields to protect himself. They claim about 80
percent of the MEND militants come from Asari's group, and
releasing him with a written guarantee of no reprisals is the
only way to end the kidnappings. The sources say Asari was
arrested because he was viewed as an active and vocal critic
of a third Presidential term.

--------------
Energy Update: Shell Facilities Still Closed
--------------


5. (C) There is no change in the status of damaged or closed
Shell facilities, and production remains reduced
approximately 550,000 bpd. There are unconfirmed reports of
an overnight attack on the pipeline at Chanomi Creek. Power
Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Managing Director Makoja
reports they have recouped about 200-250 MW of the 850 MW
lost last week by generation at the AGIP, Akpan and hydro

LAGOS 00000306 002 OF 002


plants in the north. Makoja expects the Escravos-Lagos gas
pipeline to be down for quite some time. Meanwhile, PHCN is
exploring additional plants to tap into and hopes to bring
this power on-line in 1-2 weeks.


6. (C) A Chevron officer reports yesterday's pipeline
sabotage could have a significant environmental impact.
However, environmental assessment and remediation is
difficult to carry out due to security issues, and frequently
simply do not occur prior to dispersal of a spill.

--------------
Military Update
--------------


7. (S/NF) A military source reports the operational and
movement orders for additional troops to expand the Joint
Task Force has been temporarily delayed to avoid inciting
further militant activity and jeopardizing the hostages.
Another military source refuted earlier reports of civilian
casualties in Nkerekoko, and of groundfire damage to one
helicopter used in the attack which precipitated the current
crisis.

--------------
Delta Working Group Initiated
--------------


8. (C) Post initiated a weekly Delta Working Group (DWG)
consisting of U.S. Consulate personnel and oil/oil service
company representatives to facilitate Delta security and
hostage crisis information exchange (septel). The DWG
representatives confirmed the attack on the Odidi II
flowstation and the vessel incident near Onne reported
yesterday. A Chevron vessel was approached by a rigid hull
inflatable boat (RHIB) with 5-7 men armed with assault
rifles. The RHIB circled, harassed, and attempted to board
the Chevron vessel for 2 hours, while the Chevron boat crew
responded with water cannon and evasive maneuvers until
finally escaping the attackers. The Chevron crew repeatedly
radioed to the Nigerian Navy for assistance but none was
forthcoming.

--------------
Media Update
--------------


9. (SBU) The media reports were dominated by accounts of the
aborted partial release, scuttled by the Ibori
administration's announcement and claims for credit.

--------------
Consular Update
--------------


10. (C) There have been no reports of additional attacks on
AmCits.

--------------
Repatriation Plan Update
--------------


11. (C) Econoff in Warri has concerns about lack of apparent
planning by Delta State government for hostage release
logistics.
HOWE