In many ways Nigeria is becoming the new Somalia. Like the Somali al-Shabaab terrorist militia, Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents are unleashing a wave of religiously-motivated violence across the country. Like the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, West African pirates are now terrorizing ships off the coasts of Nigeria and across the Gulf of Guinea.
Although pirates have been attacking ships in the oil-rich Niger Delta since the 1980s, their attacks have increased in frequency and severity in the last three years. According to Foreign Policy magazine, between January and September of 2012, pirates attacked 42 vessels in the Gulf of Guinea—taking 168 crew members hostage. Just last month, a group of Somali pirates operating off the Nigerian coast looted a German oil tanker, taking five Indian sailors hostage.