US Oil Executive Shot Dead in Nigeria
Kidnapping is a fairly common method used by impoverished villages in the lawless delta, suffering neglect from their own government, to extract benefits or cash from oil companies. Port Harcourt is the largest city in the Niger Delta, which pumps all of Nigeria's oil, and several multinationals have major offices there, including Royal Dutch Shell and Agip.
The kidnapping and killing add to a rising trend of violent crime and communal unrest in the vast wetlands region, which coincides with heightened political instability in Nigeria ahead of elections next year.
Militancy is fueled by resentment among many delta inhabitants, who feel cheated out of the riches being pumped from their tribal lands. Neglect and rampant corruption have eroded trust in government, while communal rivalries and abuses by the military have fueled the rise of well-armed community militias.
They have taken advantage of the absence of law and order to engage in large-scale theft of crude oil, extortion, blackmail and kidnapping against oil companies, which rely on ill-equipped and poorly trained police and military to protect them.
MEND's (Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which has waged a campaign of attacks against the oil industry in the world's eighth largest exporter) emergence in December has raised the stakes in the delta, because it introduced a more professional military style of attack, more deadly firepower and a more focused political dimension to the militancy.
Instability in Nigeria = Higher Oil Prices