News / Africa

Nigerian State Closes Sports Bars in Effort to Stop World Cup Attacks

A policeman stands near damaged vehicles after a suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of popular bars and restaurants in Sabon Gari, Kano, Nigeria, May 19, 2014.
A policeman stands near damaged vehicles after a suicide car bomber killed five people on a street of popular bars and restaurants in Sabon Gari, Kano, Nigeria, May 19, 2014.
Reuters
— Soldiers in a Nigerian state at the heart of an Islamist revolt shut down all venues preparing to screen live World Cup matches on Wednesday, hoping to stave off the kind of attacks that have killed more than 20 people in the past two weeks.

Nigeria has seen an increasingly bold series of assaults over the past five years by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, including the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

Since then, militants have set off a car bomb that killed 18 people watching a game on television at a center in the settlement of Gavan, in the northeastern state of Adamawa, on June 1.

A week before, a suicide bomber set out for an open-air screening of a match in Nigeria's central city of Jos. His car blew up on the way, killing three people.

Fears abound

Such assaults on often-ramshackle television viewing centers across Africa have raised fears militant groups will target supporters gathering to cheer on the global soccer contest.

“Our action is not to stop Nigerians ... watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives,” Brigadier-General Nicholas Rogers said on Wednesday in Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, which has been hit regularly by Boko Haram raids.

Many fans had been relying on the viewing centers -- often open-sided structures with televisions set up in shops and side streets -- to watch live coverage of their national squad, the “Super Eagles” - seen by many as Africa's main champion in the contest.

The shutdown in the impoverished state bordering Cameroon came a day before the tournament's opening ceremony and first match between Brazil and Croatia.

Support for decision

But vegetable-seller Mary Toba said she welcomed the decision, especially after the Gavan blast.

“I had told my husband and children they would have to kill me before I let them go out to watch football. I have dreams about the danger ... I thank the military for their action,” she told Reuters.

Boko Haram -- whose name roughly translates as “Western education is sinful” -- has declared war on all signs of what it sees as corrupting Western influence.

Security experts have said the viewing centers' combination of soccer and, sometimes, alcohol made them a target.

Authorities have issued warnings about going to the venues in Kenya, Nigeria, and in Uganda, where memories are still fresh of bomb attacks on two centers that killed at least 74 people watching the last World Cup final.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid