Warlord's Arrest Sparks Violence in Nigeria

The arrest this week of a Nigerian warlord from the oil-producing Niger Delta has started a wave of violence on the streets of Port Harcourt.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Another threat to the oil supplies emerged in Nigeria. That's the biggest oil supplier in Africa and a major provider to the United States. A militant group there is threatening the big oil companies. The group leader is Alhaji Dokubo Asari who was heard on this program last month. He said he wanted his ethnic group to secede from Nigeria and form an independent nation.

Mr. ALHAJI DOKUBO ASARI (Nigerian Group Leader): I do not consider myself a Nigerian, so I'm not worried about Nigerians, too. I'm only worried about the future of my nation and my own future.

INSKEEP: Asari's future became less certain because of statements like that. He was arrested this week on charges of sedition. His group, which is in the oil-producing region, threatened to cause grave mayhem if Asari was not released within 24 hours. He wasn't. He's one of two local leaders who've been arrested in recent days. And in the last few hours, we've heard reports of action against Western oil companies. Protestors occupied part of the pipeline network belonging to the American company Chevron.

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