Nigerian General Removed from Niger Delta Command

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The head of the Nigerian military in the oil-producing Niger Delta has been removed from his post. The removal of Brig. Gen. Elias Zamani happens at the same time that militants fighting the government have stepped up attacks in the delta.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Amid Nigeria's violence, one key player has left his job. Brigadier General Elias Zamani was in charge of fighting warlords and oil thieves in the swamps.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

We met the general on this program last year. His troops had settled a dispute over oil money by burning a village. The general called it a successful mission.

Brigadier General ELIAS ZAMANI (Former Commander, Joint Task Force, Niger Delta): Our troops had to defend themselves and the deployment was successful.

INSKEEP: Much of the village of Odioma was burned.

Brig. Gen. ZAMANI: That's true. That's true.

INSKEEP: How did that happen?

Brig. Gen. ZAMANI: Uh, you see, a lot of oil was stored in drums inside these houses.

INSKEEP: General Zamani said that during the shooting, the oil drums and countless homes caught fire by accident.

MONTAGNE: Now, in this latest crisis, the general has been removed from his command. The general faced criticism for his tactics in battling armed groups though a military spokesman told the BBC that the general's transfer was routine.

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