2 bombers target mobile phone firms in Nigeria

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2012 at 10:36 am •  Published: December 22, 2012
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In September, a series of attacks damaged more than 31 towers operated by all the major mobile phone providers in the country. Other attacks have occurred since then, further straining the one link Nigeria relies on for communication in a country with very few landlines. While no one claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Islamist sect had threatened mobile phone companies earlier in the year, warning that they would be targeted for cooperating with the government to flush out its members.

In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with more than 160 million people, mobile phones serve as a valuable lifeline in both cities and rural communities. Landlines remain almost nonexistent, as the state-run telephone company has collapsed and repeated efforts to privatize it have failed. More 87 million mobile phone lines were in use in 2009, according to estimates.

"Never would we have expected that telecommunications could be targeted," said Damien Udeh, a spokesman for the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria. "It portends a dangerous situation for everybody, especially government."

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Associated Press writer Yinka Ibukun contributed to this report from Lagos, Nigeria

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