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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06LAGOS383 2006-03-14 19:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: HOSTAGE-TAKING, SITREP # 24

Tags:   EPET PGOV ASEC PTER CASC NI 
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VZCZCXRO8943
OO RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0383/01 0731905
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141905Z MAR 06
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6787
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0597
RUEPGDA/USEUCOM JIC VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
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
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000383 

SIPDIS

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: 03/14/2016
TAGS: EPET PGOV ASEC PTER CASC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: HOSTAGE-TAKING, SITREP # 24

REF: LAGOS 376

Classified By: Acting Political/Economic Chief Shannon Ross
for reasons 1.4 (D/E).

-------
Summary
-------



1. (C) Conoff received a phone call from the hostage
takers, and had a highly scripted exchange with Amcit Cody
Oswalt. Ijaw youth leaders have been meeting in Warri since
yesterday, and one of them tells us he expects a release of
the hostages tomorrow night. There were no additional
attacks on oil installations, but Shell reports noticeable
shortages of kerosene and diesel in the Delta region as a
result of curtailment of deliveries there by the Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). End summary.



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


Hostage Welfare Update


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





2. (C) Conoff received another phone call from the hostage
takers tonight at approximately 1930 hours, and again spoke
to AmCit Cody Oswalt. The hostage taker's tone was more
threatening than in the previous conversation. He asked for
the USG and HMG to place pressure on the GON to resolve the
hostage issue. Oswalt's remarks to Conoff were significantly
more scripted than the previous conversation. Oswalt stated
he has been separated from the other hostages, but we cannot
independently verify this. We have no confirmation regarding
the status of the other hostages.



3. (C) Other sources continue to assure us the hostages are
in good condition and in the same place. Family letters were
delivered to Judy Asuni, who hopes to have them sent to the
hostages tomorrow morning.



4. (C) Willbros's Houston office feels released Amcit
hostage Macon Hawkins is not ready to make a public appeal
for the release of the remaining hostages, but will continue
to work with him.



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


Hostage Negotiations


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





5. (C) A meeting of Ijaw youth leaders concluded today with
a press briefing and publication of a communique, which
recognized the urgency of development issues in the Delta
region, and the need for the hostages to be released rapidly.



6. (C) Dr. Sofiri Peterside, a Port Harcourt-based academic
who helps run the city's American Corner outreach facility,
attended the meeting and claimed Bello Oboko was arranging a
release for tomorrow night. However, no other sources
corroborate this information.



7. (C) Several sources indicate concern over next week's
national census has placed additional pressure on the
kidnappers to release the hostages. The GON has threatened
not to count Ijaws if hostages are still being held in their
communities, and if the area is too dangerous for
enumerators. A communique released by Ijaw elders who met in
Yenagoa last week stressed the importance of the census to
the Ijaw ethnic group.



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


Energy Update


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





8. (C) Shell reports noticeable shortages of kerosene and
diesel fuel due to NNPC restriction on delivery to the Delta
region. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Daukoru,
in a statement to the international press, revised upwards a
previous estimate of shut-in production from 450,000 barrels

LAGOS 00000383 002 OF 002


per day (BPD) to 556,000 bpd. This change does not reflect
any new shut-in production, but rather is an admission past
estimates were low. (Note: Based on private conversations
with Shell, Mission has been reporting 550,000 bpd lost
production for several weeks. End note)



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


Delta Working Group Review


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





9. (C) The Delta Working Group (DWG) met March 14 to share
information on latest developments in the Delta. An oil
company representative from Exxon Mobil said Comrade Owei, a
leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic
Nationalities in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), was actively
recruiting Ibibio and Efik peoples in the Akwa Ibom area to
join the Ijaw cause. He claimed Owei was behind the letters
threatening action against Exxon Mobil and the protests at
the Qua Iboe Terminal over the weekend. Other oil company
representatives said oil worker unions PENGASSAN and NUPENG
were threatening to pull out of the Delta if security
measures were not strengthened. PENGASSAN leaders denied the
claim and said rumors may have been started within a local
chapter. The police liaison to the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the working group that "top
brass" in the Joint Task Force, Navy, and Mobile Police are
involved with bunkering and protection rackets in the Delta,
and the EFCC plans to take a more pro-active role in
eliminating corruption from the sensitive region.



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


Military Update


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





9. (C) There are no significant updates.



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


Media Update


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





10. (SBU) The Vanguard reported U.S. diplomats were
lobbying the Delta State Government for the release of the
hostages.



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


Consular Update


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





11. (C) There have been no reports of additional attacks on
AmCits. One mission Conoff and one FEST member are in Warri
monitoring negotiations and prepared to assist with
repatriation. The UK also has a consular officer in Warri to
monitor negotiations and assist with repatriation. The head
of Shell Security is on standby for repatriation assistance.
HOWE