- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
Nigerian ex-militant forges security contract
Linked to $103M deal to stop piracy
LAGOS, NIGERIA— A former militant leader in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta is linked to a private security company that signed a $103 million deal with the government to patrol the West African nation’s waterways to stop piracy, officials have told the Associated Press.
Before the amnesty, men allied with the ex-militant, Government Ekpumopolo, carried out attacks and killings in the southern Niger Delta.
Nigeria struggles with endemic graft, and analysts say the nation has one of the world’s most corrupt governments.
The government brokered an amnesty deal with militants in 2009. Since then, oil production has risen dramatically, but the $103 million contract raises worries about the influence of former militants.
“It is alarming that the patrol and control of Nigeria’s coastal borders is being handed to a private concern, run by a known warlord, even [if] he is a rehabilitated rebel,” said an editorial in the Daily Trust, the newspaper of record of Nigeria’s north.
A government official saw no problem with the contract.
“Even if it were to be owned by a militant, what offense has the militant committed in owning a business?” asked Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, which will partner with the private firm.
From militant to adviser
“Here is a country where people have served prison terms and become heads of state or presidents. … When people say ‘ex-militant this,’ ‘ex-militant that,’ they should be mindful of their utterances.”
It is unclear whether Mr. Ekpumopolo, also known by his nom de guerre Government Tompolo, has any financial position in Global West Vessel Specialist Agency Ltd. One of the owners said Mr. Tompolo had no interest in the company.
Mr. Tompolo served as a commander in the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which was one of several militant groups that crippled Nigeria’s oil industry in the southern delta from 2006 to 2009 with a wave of attacks targeting foreign oil companies.
The region of mangroves and swamps, about the size of Portugal, has been the seat of oil production in Nigeria for more than 50 years. The easily refined crude produced by foreign oil firms provides an energy supply critical for the gasoline-thirsty United States.
Fighters under Mr. Tompolo bombed crude oil pipelines, attacked soldiers and kidnapped foreign workers under the flag of the militant group. In May 2009, Mr. Tompolo’s forces engaged in one of their biggest battles with soldiers after kidnapping 15 Filipino sailors.
Two of those kidnapped died, and Amnesty International said hundreds of people were killed in the fighting as the military brought in helicopters and jet fighters.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Unanimous Senate passes bill on military sex assault to give victims more say in prosecution
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again