FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Nigeria

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:43pm GMT

LAGOS Aug 17 (Reuters) - Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in its largely Muslim north and faces growing theft of its oil by armed gangs in the southeastern Niger Delta region.

A spate of corruption scandals have damaged confidence in President Goodluck Jonathan's pledge to reform Africa's second biggest economy, which still suffers instability, lawlessness and crippling power shortages, although moves on power privatisation have raised hopes of slow progress.


A military crackdown appears to have weakened Islamist sect Boko Haram in its northeastern heartland, although it has also pushed it into new areas that used to be free of the insurgency, which is seeking to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria.

Security sources say the sect has linked up with al Qaeda's north African wing, although it remains mainly motivated by domestic factors: hostility to the Nigerian establishment and to the country's Christians, whose churches it regularly bombs.

What to watch:

- More Boko Haram attacks, especially on churches

- A Western target, like last August's U.N. bombing   Continued...

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