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