Thursday, 12 June 2014

'Bomb threat' Curtails Nigeria World Cup Viewings

Authorities in Nigeria's north-eastern state of Adamawa have ordered all venues planning to screen live coverage of the football World Cup to close.

They say they have received intelligence of planned bomb attacks during the competition, which opens in Brazil on Thursday.

Adamawa is one of the states badly affected by Islamist violence.

Open-air viewing centres - where people pay to watch live football - are popular throughout Nigeria.

"Our action is not to stop Nigerians... watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives," Brig-Gen Nicholas Rogers was quoted by the AFP agency as saying on Wednesday in Yola, the capital of Adamawa.

Earlier this month, the US embassy in Uganda urged people to exercise caution when attending venues that may attract large crowds during the World Cup, saying there was a continued threat of terror attacks in the East Africa nation.

Somali Islamists bombed two restaurants in Kampala which were showing the World Cup final four years ago, killing more than 70 people.

North-eastern Adamawa state has often been targeted by Boko Haram Islamist militants.

On 1 June at least 14 people were killed in a bomb attack on a bar that was screening a televised football match in Adamawa. No group claimed responsibility for the blast, but Boko Haram were the main suspects.

The state is one of three in Nigeria that have been placed under emergency rule because of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Many people were also killed in two explosions blamed on Boko Haram while watching football in a video hall in the north-eastern town of Maiduguri in March.

Correspondents say many fans have no means other than the viewing centres to watch the Nigerian team - or Super Eagles - in action.

The Nigerian team's first World Cup match in Brazil is against Iran on 16 June.

They then play Bosnia-Hercegovina and finish their Group F campaign against Argentina as they attempt to reach the last 16, as they did in 1994 and 1998.