The PLA in Africa

I’m surprised that threats such as these have not materialized within the public sphere sooner.

Nigerian militants have warned that Chinese officials and business-people will be “treated as thieves” and are on a hit list for future attacks, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The threat came after the militants in the country’s troubled oil-producing region exploded a car bomb late on Saturday, and days after Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) wrapped up his week-long tour of Africa.

“We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to steer well clear of the Niger Delta,” said a spokesman for the militant group in an e-mail to news organizations, according to the Post. “Chinese citizens found in oil installations will be treated as thieves. The Chinese government by investing in stolen crude places its citizens in our line of fire.”

The woes of being an emerging poli-oil superpower. Chinese security forces in Africa? In 2004 there were an estimated 4000 PLA soldiers stationed in Sudan protecting an Chinese invested oil pipeline. With increased activity in and around Africa, I suspect the total number is higher.

For comparison, reports US military personnel currently deployed in Africa number about 2000, with 1600 operating under Operation Enduring Freedom (Horn of Africa) in Djibouti, with another 750 troops participating multinational observation force in the Sinai.

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