And the news is not good.
Thousands of Nigerian Muslims protesting against the Muhammad cartoons attacked Christians and burned churches in northeastern Nigeria, police and residents said.
At least 15 people were killed in the first major protest to erupt over the issue in Africa’s most populous nation.
Rioters burned 15 Christian churches in Maiduguri in a three-hour midday rampage on Saturday….
An Associated Press reporter saw mobs of Muslim protesters swarm through the city centre with machetes, sticks and iron rods. One group threw a tyre around one man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze.
Chima Ezeoke, a Christian Maiduguri resident, said the protesters had attacked and looted shops owned by minority Christians.
“Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters,” Mr. Ezeoke said.
Witnesses said that three children and a Catholic priest were among those killed.
And rebel attacks in the south are having a
significant economic impact:
Militants holding nine foreign hostages in southern Nigeria destroyed an oil pipeline Monday and blew up a boat in violence that has cut about 20 percent of crude production in Africa’s oil giant.
The West African nation is reeling from weekend attacks in which militants blasted oil and gas pipelines and sabotaged a key oil loading terminal belonging to Royal Dutch Shell. That and an earlier attack has forced the company to halt the flow of about 455,000 barrels a day.
Nigeria is no longer another one of those African countries whose misery the rest of the world can ignore. Nigeria’s oil production was up to 2.7 million barrels a day by the end of last year, which puts it ahead of Kuwait, Iraq, Venezuela, or United Arab Emirates in terms of total production. Although global petroleum production was virtually stagnant during September through November compared with the same months of the previous year, Nigeria boosted its production 200,000 barrels a day, thanks in part to production from the new Bonga deepwater field. Exxon-Mobil’s Erha deepwater field had been expected shortly to begin making a similar contribution.
Nigeria, you see, had been an important part of the reason that some people had been suggesting that we had no worries about the near-term oil supply outlook.