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  • Niger Delta

    While Nigeria is the fifth largest oil supplier to the United States, the people of the Niger Delta live in poverty, kept from billions of dollars in oil revenues by corrupt officials in the Nigerian government.
    AP Photo
  • Niger Delta

    And that's where the e-mails begin...In an e-mail in the inbox of Brian Ross, someone using the name Jomo claimed car bombs had been planted in the Niger Delta and would be detonated any minute. Within minutes, halfway around the world, bombs went off in that oil producing region of Nigeria.
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  • Niger Delta

    Nigerian militant groups, including MEND, named for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the group Jomo said he led, are stepping up their campaigns to cut off Nigerian oil supplies to the United States and the rest of the world.
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    A rag-tag group of young men in fatigues and war paint, MEND is now posing a major threat to what had long been considered a safe resource of the highest quality oil for producing gasoline for the U.S. market, which demands 80 million barrels a day.
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    Claiming previous attacks and kidnappings that avoided loss of life do not seem to be working, Jomo wrote, "We have the capacity to be as ruthless and as callous as attacks witnessed in Iraq."
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    Fortified with Czech guns that can even be used as anti-aircraft weapons, MEND and other militant groups have increased their attacks in just the last year, targeting more oil rigs and kidnapping more than a dozen foreign oil workers, including four AGIP employees who remain in MEND's custody.
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  • Niger Delta

    And MEND has not even reached its full potential for terror. "Our fighters can set rigs on fire with all the occupants aboard. This is a final option which we are toying with," Jomo wrote to ABC News in his strongest statement to date.
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  • Niger Delta

    Rigs, such as this one belonging to the Shell Oil company, are the likely targets Jomo and his terror group MEND mean to set on fire if they choose to pursue that "final option."
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  • Niger Delta

    Already, Shell, along with Exxon, Chevron and other major companies, have seen an escalation in the number of attacks against their facilities.
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    And experts say there is growing evidence that al Qaeda is timing its own attacks on oil facilities in the Middle East with the MEND attacks in Nigeria, creating a recipe for a world crisis, one that could push the price of gas for U.S. drivers to between $5 and $6 a gallon.
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    The issue at stake for MEND and other militant groups in the region is the ugly after-effects from the discovery of oil seen by the people living in the Niger Delta.
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  • Niger Delta

    Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi of Seattle, who spent the last year documenting the plight of the people living in the midst of oil production, told ABC News, "...there's a sheen on the water that's oil, that many of the mangoes are dying, that pieces of metal that you saw eight months ago are already eroded because of the acid rain."
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
  • Niger Delta

    Women of the Niger Delta took Cioffi fishing with them so that she could see "the big huge Oscravas, which used to have enormous fish catches, which now they have these teeny, tiny little crawfish."
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  • Niger Delta

    Oil flares, buring right out of the ground, are also a common sight in the Niger Delta. Sofia Cioffi tells of being taken to one, "So that I would get it, that the noxious fumes of that, the carcinogens, the things that make some infants actually die in their sleep, sinking down to the earth, right there in their village."
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  • Niger Delta

    And the reason behind the poverty and substandard living conditions is no secret: Nigerian officials say the violence by MEND and other militant groups is the direct result of decades of massive, unchecked corruption with government officials at all levels accused of stealing hundreds of billions of dollars, often with the complicity of U.S. and European companies.
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  • Niger Delta

    The exact figure? $400 billion is the estimated total amount of oil money that came out of the Niger Delta and went straight to the pockets of corrupt officials, who either stole or wasted it at the expense of the people of the Niger Delta.
    "Sweet Crude"/Sandy Cioffi
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