News / Africa

Boko Haram Threatens VOA Reporters

VOA News
A radical Nigerian sect is again threatening reporters working with Voice of America.

The warning issued Thursday by Boko Haram came in the same statement in which it claimed responsibility for attacking and destroying mobile phone towers in the northern part of the country.

Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa said in the statement the group was going to target VOA, charging VOA "has undertaken the task of harming our religion."  He said the Boko Haram "will not leave any correspondent or staff of VOA alone."

Qaqa also defended the attacks on the mobile phone towers, saying the wireless phone companies were helping give Nigerian security forces information on Boko Haram members.  The group first warned of attack on mobile phone towers months ago.

This is not the first time Boko Haram has threatened journalists.  In May, the sect purportedly issued an 18-minute video on YouTube threatening VOA and other international news organizations.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation with about 160 million people.  It is divided roughly in half between Muslims, who live mainly in the north and Christians, mostly living in the south.

Boko Haram does not recognize the Nigerian government or constitution and says it wants to establish a strict Islamic state in the north.  Human Rights Watch says the group has been responsible for more than 1,000 deaths over the past three years, mostly in the north.
 
The U.S. government has designated three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists.

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