Viewing cable 03ABUJA1441
Title: WARRI CRISIS UPDATE 22AUG03

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUJA14412003-08-22 16:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
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 ABUJA 001441 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2013 
TAGS: PINS EPET PGOV ASEC PHUM NI
SUBJECT: WARRI CRISIS UPDATE 22AUG03 
 
REF: ABUJA 1430 AND PREVIOUS 
 
 
¶1. (U) Classified by Counselor James Maxstadt for reasons 1.5 
(b) and (d). 
 
 
¶2. (SBU) Warri town remains calm, reports the Warri office of 
U.S. NGO "IFESH" and Police Commissioner Charles Akaya. 
Shell's Warri office reopened the afternoon of August 21 with 
a "skeleton staff," according to Shell's Corporate Security 
Manager Mike Achu.  According to press reports August 22, the 
Nigerian Red Cross now estimates that 100 were killed and 
over 1,000 wounded during the August 15-19 fighting in Warri 
town. 
 
 
CEASEFIRE OR NO CEASEFIRE 
------------------------- 
 
 
¶3. (C) "The Vanguard" (Nigerian daily) reported August 22 
that President of the Ijaw militant Federated Niger Delta 
Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) Bello Oboko denied the existence of 
a ceasefire between his group and rival Itsekiri militants. 
Although unable to reach Oboko for confirmation, Corporate 
Responsibility Officer (CRO) talked to two authoritative 
sources in the Ijaw youth movement who believe the Oboko 
quote is accurate.  Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) official 
Patterson Ogon, explained that militants were not part of the 
emergency ceasefire meeting held August 20 by Governor Ibori 
and that there can be no ceasefire imposed by the State 
Government.  Many Ijaws see the Governor as pro-Itsekiri and 
not addressing the political grievances that underlie the 
current fighting. 
 
 
¶4. (SBU) Meanwhile, according to Governor Ibori's personal 
assistance, the Governor will chair another meeting of Ijaw 
and Itsekiri leaders on August 23 in Warri.  It is not clear 
whether this meeting too will exclude the militants. 
 
 
IJAWS MOBILIZING 
---------------- 
 
 
¶5. (C) According to IYC official Dimieri Von Kemedi, FNDIC 
militants are mobilizing Ijaw radicals from Bayelsa State to 
fight Itsekiri in the Warri area, hyping claims that the 
Yoruba youth Odua People's Congress (OPC) is helping the 
Itsekiri in the current fight.   Von Kemedi said that he is 
countering by having two respected Ijaw elders address a 
large gathering of Ijaw youth leaders from throughout the 
Delta to emphasize the need for a political, not fighting, 
solution to the grievances of the Ijaw in that area. 
 
 
MILITARY OPERATION BEGINS 
------------------------- 
 
 
¶6. (C) A DAO source August 22 confirmed press reports that 
the long-awaited military operation is beginnng.  Named 
"Operation Restore Hope," this operation seeks to 
demilitarize the whole Warri area.  It will include 
village-by-village, house-to-house searches for weapons, 
which will be confiscated.  The Joint Task Force carrying out 
the operation is temporary and is under the tactical command 
of Army BG Zamani. 
 
 
HALLIBURTON BOAT AMBUSHED 
------------------------- 
 
 
¶7. (C) In an August 22 conversation with Lagos ECONOFF, 
Halliburton's Security Manager disclosed that a Halliburton 
contractor's boat was attacked by Ijaw militants on August 18 
 as it was loading equipment in the Yokri field near Forcados 
Warri Southwest Local Government Area.  The Ijaw militants 
disarmed three Navy soldiers onboard the boat for security. 
They took all the bullets out of the soldiers' guns but 
returned the weapons themselves, noting that they were too 
outdated to be of use.  The Ijaw threatened to kill the three 
ethnic Itsekiri crew members of the boat, but later acceded 
to the pleas of the three Navy personnel and allowed them and 
the Itsekiris to escape. 
 
 
¶8. (C) Ijaw militants are still holding the boat, its captain 
and its load of Halliburton equipment, demanding a 15 million 
naira (approximately $115,000) ransom.  The GON's State 
Security Service (SSS) believes the boat has been moved near 
the village of Gbaramatu, the home of FNDIC militants of the 
Gbaramatu clan of Ijaw.  SSS has told Halliburton that a Navy 
boat loaded with Army soldiers has been deployed to find and 
take back the boat, which they expect to do by Monday. 
ROBERTS