These renewed attacks by MEND indicate that the amnesty program, which offers salaries and job training, was only a temporary palliative. Buying off a few fighters simply opens up positions for new recruits to join MEND. In terms of the elections, it will be interesting to see how renewed violence affects the message that candidates send to voters, although most believe Seriake Henry Dickson already has a win secured.

Sahel Blog

The Niger Delta is back in the news, both for the (alleged?) return of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND – read a backgrounder here) and for the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State, which was the site of a bitter primary election in November. Different sources give different views on how closely the recent oil violence is connected to Bayelsa’s electoral calendar. But clearly the Niger Delta is facing renewed political tension and renewed violence at the same time.

Nigeria last held national elections, including gubernatorial contests, in April 2011, but since then various governors have faced court challenges to their legitimacy. Some have won and remained in office, but others have not. On January 27, the Supreme Court removed five governors from office (for the back story, see here). The situation in one of these states, Kogi, is complicated by the…

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