Nigeria Looks for Oil on Boko Haram’s Home Turf—and Pays the Price

Nigeria Looks for Oil on Boko Haram’s Home Turf—and Pays the Price
People stand behind burned-out cars after a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, Feb. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Hamza Suleiman).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Last week, AFP reported on Nigeria’s search for oil in the country’s northeast, the home base of the Boko Haram insurgency. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation described the effort, which is being aided by Chinese technical expertise, as a priority for the country. But analysts warned of the security implications, noting that any discoveries could create potential new targets for an insurgency that is still very much active.

Those warnings are looking prescient today. Bloomberg reported Thursday that Boko Haram militants killed 48 people, including 18 soldiers and five geologists, in an attack on an exploration team. The incident again leaves the government exposed to criticism that it has overstated security gains in the region. As Alex Thurston wrote for WPR in March, Boko Haram’s slow decline “has been uneven and frequently punctuated by shocking attacks.”

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