News / Africa

    Nigerians Reconsider World Cup Viewing Centers After Attack

    • Victims of a suicide bomb explosion at a World Cup viewing center receive treatment at Sani Abacha specialist hospital in Damaturu, Nigeria, June 18, 2014.
    • Damaged buildings and bloodstains on the street can be seen following a suicide bomb explosion at a World Cup viewing center, Damaturu, Nigeria, June 18, 2014.
    • Heavily damaged buildings and bloodstains on the street can be seen following a suicide bomb explosion at a World Cup viewing center, Damaturu, Nigeria, June 18, 2014.
    Heather Murdock
    Free TV channels in Nigeria don’t show the World Cup.  But for about 25 cents, fans across the country can enjoy the game at "viewing centers," which are often as informal as a television set and a bunch of chairs.
     
    In northeastern Nigeria, where a five-year Islamist insurgency has killed thousands of people and crushed the economy, football is one of the few pleasures left.  
     
    Beauty Zopti, a fan, lives in Bauchi, a northern state bordering Yobe, where the bomb hit fans during the Brazil-Mexico World Cup match Tuesday night.
     
    “I do go to viewing center to watch football.  But due to what is happening now, I think one should rethink," Zopti said. "Because definitely I’m thinking of watching it at home, because going to the viewing center has become something else with the recent bombing all over.“
     
    At the end of May, 40 people were killed watching a football match at a viewing center in Adamawa state.  Two weeks earlier, in Plateau state, security forces stopped an attempted attack on a viewing center, but three people were still killed, including the bomber.

     
    Boko Haram
     
    • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
    • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
    • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
    • Launched uprising in 2009
    • Has killed thousands since 2010
    • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
    • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
    No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks Tuesday, that killed 21 people in Damaturu, but Boko Haram insurgents are widely blamed.
     
    The insurgency appears to have escalated in recent months, with more than 2,000 people killed this year alone and hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped. The girls have been held captive now for over two months.
     
    “Massacres have been occurring with regularity and some communities have actually been wiped out over the last six weeks.  So the evidence is clear that the insurgency is getting worse,” noted Jibrin Ibrahim, the executive director of the Center for Democracy and Development in Abuja.
     
    According to the United Nations, roughly half a million people have fled their homes because of the violence.
     
    Boko Haram preaches its own harsh version of Islamic law that rejects all things Western, which, to them, includes football.   But TV ratings show nothing is more African than football, with at least 17.5 million people in Nigeria alone watching the Nigeria-Iran matchup Monday night.

    Meanwhile in Brazil, members of the Nigerian national team say news of the attack on citizens watching them play in the World Cup has strengthened their resolve to win.

    "In fact we are more than ever determined that the only way we can console or condole these people that lost their lives or who are injured, to is just do one thing, go ahead and beat Bosnia and qualify for the next round of the World Cup," team official Emanuel Attah told Reuters news agency.

    Attah also appealed to those responsible for the attack to renounce violence.

    "That's why we are appealing to all those behind it - some of them must have played football before, some of them must have been football fans - appealing to them to please give their luck a chance and let all this bombing and killing stop. It's not good for us," he said.

    Some material for this report provided by Reuters

    2014 Brazil World Cup Moments, June 18, 2014
     
    • Mexico's Rafael Marquez (left) fights for the ball with Brazil's David Luiz during their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match at the Castelao arena, in Fortaleza, June 17, 2014.
    • Algerian soccer fans watch their team's World Cup soccer match with Belgium on a large screen, in Algiers, June 17, 2014.
    • South Korean rapper Psy performs during a public screening before the 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match between South Korea and Russia, in Seoul, June 18, 2014.
    • A baby wears a wig while playing among Brazilian soccer fans watching the match between Brazil and Mexico during the World Cup 2014, in Manaus, June 17, 2014.
    • Russia's Igor Akinfeev fumbles the ball to concede a goal to South Korea's Lee Keun-ho during their 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match at the Pantanal arena, in Cuiaba, June 17, 2014.
    • Russia's Alexander Kerzhakov (No. 11) is seen in action before scoring the goal against South Korea during their 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match at the Pantanal arena, in Cuiaba, June 17, 2014.
    • South's Korea's national soccer players pile on top of teammate Lee Keun-ho as they celebrate his goal against Russia during their 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match at the Pantanal arena, in Cuiaba, June 17, 2014.
    • A girl wearing the Brazilian flag runs through the slum of Varjao on the outskirts of Brasilia, ahead of the 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match between Brazil and Mexico, June 17, 2014.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Miriam Guzman from: Miami
    June 18, 2014 1:37 PM
    Pls give us the list of dead and injury people in this attack , as I have a friend in that area and he was about to see the match. Thank uuu

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora