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Nigeria Restores Phone Service in Militant Areas

Nigeria has restored mobile phone service in three states where it was shut down to prevent Islamist militants from coordinating attacks.

A Nigerian Defense Department spokesman, Chris Olukolade, tells VOA that mobile phone service was restored to Borno state Friday after the return of service in Yobe and Adamawa.

He said officials believe the situation in the three northeastern states is stable enough that "people can go back to normal lives."

A journalist in Borno state tells VOA that the mobile phone network returned for about 2 hours Friday and then went down again.

President Goodluck Jonathan sent additional troops to the three states in mid-May after a surge in attacks and activity by radical group Boko Haram, which is blamed for thousands of deaths over the past four years.

Mobile phone service was shut down to hinder communication between Boko Haram fighters.

The shutdown has made it difficult to confirm Nigerian military reports that troops have cleared out Boko Haram bases and killed or arrested dozens of militants.



The situation in the northeast remains fragile, as militants have attacked at least three schools in the last month.

Boko Haram's name in the Hausa language means "Western education is sinful." The group is fighting to impose a strict form of Islamic law in Nigeria's majority-Muslim north.

The militants have carried out scores of bombing and shooting attacks since 2009, many of them aimed at police, government officials, and other authority figures.

Rights groups say the military has killed hundreds more, many of them civilians, in efforts to crush the group.

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