| JUSTICE IN NIGERIA NOW! (JINN)
Displaced women and children taking refuge at the relief camp at Ogbeh-Ijoh (Vanguard)
You may have heard about the current violence that has taken over the Niger Delta. We at JINN are extremely concerned about the Nigerian military attacks over the past several days. Through the efforts of our allies working to bring peace to the Niger Delta, Senator Russ Feingold and Senator John Kerry have recently issued statements condemning the violence.
Worst Violence in Years, Niger Delta Communities Under Siege
“I heard the sound of aircraft; I saw two military helicopters, shooting at the houses, at the palace, shooting at us. We had to run for safety into the forest. In the bush, I heard adults crying, so many mothers could not find their children; everybody ran for their life.” An Eyewitness to the Oporoza Village Massacre on May 15th
For the past 12 days, the Nigerian military Joint Task Force/JTF has been razing villages and killing civilians across the Warri South portion of the Niger Delta. According to reports received by Amnesty International, hundreds of bystanders, including women and children, are believed to have been killed and thousands have fled to the mangrove forests in fear for their lives. The JTF has been allegedly targeting areas where armed groups are located, but over 20,000 people have been caught in the crossfire. For the first several days of the attacks, the Nigerian government prohibited any journalists or aid groups from entering the region, and the military attacks have escalated under the guise of rooting out militants associated with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
According to Reuters, “Nigeria’s lower house of parliament has passed a resolution urging President Umaru Yar’Adua to extend the biggest military operation for years in the Niger Delta into neighbouring states.”
Read other articles on the escalating crisis
Broad Coalition Urges International Criminal Court to Prosecute
In response to these outrageous attacks, JINN, as part of a broad international coalition of groups, requested the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor to open an immediate investigation into what appears to be a systematic campaign of violence against civilians by the Armed Forces of the Nigerian government. We are still awaiting a response. Read the letter to the ICC
Senator Feingold and Senator Kerry Condemn the Military Attacks in the Delta
Those who learn what is happening in the Niger Delta are outraged and concerned for the safety of thousands. On May 22, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold spoke out strongly against the Nigerian government’s actions, and called for the Nigerian government to address the legitimate concerns of the people of the Niger Delta. He said “I urge the Obama administration to think creatively about how we can work multilaterally to help end this long-standing crisis in the Niger Delta.” Read Full Statement
Senator John Kerry followed with his statement on May 23 stating: “Civilian protection and humanitarian needs must be prioritized in the current offensive, and all parties to the conflict should engage in a process to bring an end to the widespread violence and criminality that have long plagued the region and to address the needs of the population.” Read Full Statement
Amnesty International Reports Eye-Witness Accounts
Amnesty International gathered reports directly from the effected villages stating: “Many houses in the communities have been set on fire and destroyed by the military. People are still in hiding in the forest, with no access to medical care and food. The main method of transportation for these communities is by boat. However, according to reports, people attempting to travel by water are being targeted” Read Full Statement
The current crisis in the Delta means that your attendance and involvement in this weeks upcoming activities is even more important. Join JINN on Wednesday and Thursday!
“I Will Protest Chevron” at Chevron’s Headquarters in San Ramon Wednesday, May 27, 7am – 10:30 am, in front of Chevron Headquarters (6001 Bollinger Canyon Road San Ramon, CA) with carpooling options – Map Join our broad coalition of protestors representing Richmond, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ecuador and Burma and others effected by Chevron. To view a new parody Chevron’s ads and for more information on rally logistics, go to our coalition website: TrueCostOfChevron.com Sweet Crude – San Francisco Premiere Thursday May 28 7pm: Sweet Crude and Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi at the CounterCorp Film Festival
Sadly, this amazing new film on the Niger Delta by Sandy Cioffi is centered in the village of Oporoza that has just been razed by the Nigerian military. This film gives one of the best historical contexts to what is happening now. Come for a discussion with the filmmaker about the current crisis in the Delta. Victoria Theater 2961 16th Street (at Mission St.) Map
Thank you for giving these issues attention in the midst of your busy schedules. The people of the Niger Delta need ot feel your support Please let everyone you know about what is happening!
Sarah, Laura and JINN Volunteers