Monday, 8 October 2012

News Report: Nigerian Forces Kill 30 Islamists, Arrest 10

Credit: Reuters

Nigerian forces said on Monday they killed 30 members of Islamist sect Boko Haram, including a senior commander, and arrested 10 others in a weekend raid on the northeastern city of Damaturu.

Boko Haram is waging an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan's government with the avowed aim of reviving an ancient Islamic kingdom in majority Muslim northern Nigeria.

Styled on the Afghan Taliban, the sect's purported leader Abubakar Shekau has said he wants to impose Sharia law on the country of 160 million people, around half of whom are Christian and the other half Muslim. The movement has become the number one security threat to Africa's top energy producer.

Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, a spokesman for joint military and police forces in northeastern Yobe state, said in a statement that they had conducted cordon and search operations at a suspected Boko Haram hideout in Damaturu on Sunday and "engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists."

"About thirty suspected Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the battle which lasted several hours ... The notorious one-eyed Bakaka, the field commander of Boko Haram in Damaturu and a close associate of Abubakar Shekau was killed," he said.

Ten others were arrested and "are presently assisting investigators to track other senior members of the terrorist group," he added. Three Homemade bombs, six assault rifles and 90 rounds of ammunition and several knives were seized, he said.

There was no immediate comment from Boko Haram.
The sect's fighters have killed more than 1,000 people in bomb or gun attacks since they intensified their struggle in 2010, rights groups say.

A military crackdown on the Islamists in the north appears to have weakened them, leaving them less capable of carrying out large-scale, sophisticated attacks like the one that killed 186 people in Kano in January.

Yet it has also pushed them into new areas away from their northeastern heartland, widening their geographical spread. Two explosions in eastern Nigeria's Taraba state on Thursday and Friday wounded around two dozen people and killed one.

The sect usually targets the security forces or government offices, although churches and bars are also often hit. The United States has labeled Shekau and two other of its senior members 'terrorists' and put them on its sanctions list.

Videonews: Venezuela's Hugo Chavez Accepts Victory

U-Report: Chatham House Releases New Oil And Gas Report

Report By: Chatham House Press Office

If the oil and gas industry is to evolve and prosper it must undergo a transformation as radical and profound as that of the 1970s, says a new report from Chatham House.  

What Next for the Oil and Gas Industry? by John Mitchell with Valérie Marcel and Beth Mitchell, examines how long-term changes in the business environment, technological developments, climate change mitigation policies and the new geopolitics of oil are forcing seismic change upon the industry.

The report finds that the threat of 'oil running out' - for years regarded as the second big turning point facing the industry - is no longer an imminent prospect, with 'peak oil' increasingly looking like a misleading notion. On the contrary, it is demand that is nearing a plateau, at least in developed countries. And with reserves of oil and gas having more than doubled since 1980, the problem is not finite resources, but rather the rate at which these very large resources can be converted into reserves.

The oil industry can no longer rely on its monopoly of the transport market, a sector which constitutes half the global oil market. Use of oil in transport is being drastically reduced by competition from other industries, driven both by the increase in oil prices since 2005, and by government policies limiting carbon emissions.

John Mitchell says, 'Many in the industry have yet to grasp that the economic, environmental and geopolitical changes taking place outside the industry are going to demand a seismic response from within it. Business as usual is no longer a credible future: an epic, rather than incremental response is needed if the industry is to continue to evolve and prosper. The choice is to change or be changed.'

Advances in technology are also playing a crucial role in reshaping the industry, opening up new reserves of 'unconventional' oil, as they already have for gas, and creating new and previously unforeseen opportunities for private sector companies. But these companies cannot afford to be complacent. For investors who look for growth in value or volume, many private sector oil companies seem configured for the last era and not the next; their strategies look recycled, not renewed. Fundamental changes taking place in the geopolitics of oil are also examined.

The authors raise the prospect that the United States’ diminished demand for Middle Eastern oil could ultimately affect its willingness to protect sea lanes that mainly benefit Asian importers. Control of shipping lanes in the South China Sea, in particular, could become an increasingly confrontational issue, the report warns.