'Bomb threat' curtails Nigeria World Cup viewings

Nigeria fans cheer ahead of the international friendly soccer match between Nigeria and Scotland at Craven Cottage in London (May 2014) Nigerians are known to be passionate supporters of their team

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.

Map of Nigeria

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.

Africa's star performers?

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.

A man prepares barbecue popularly known as Suya for fans watching Nigeria's match against Ethiopia at a public viewing centre in Lagos - 29 January 2013 Outdoor public viewing centres for watching football are popular across Nigeria

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 team is tipped by pundits to be one of Africa's star performers at the World Cup.

Boko Haram has come under the international spotlight after it recently abducted more than 200 girls from a school in northern Nigeria.

Efforts to locate the girls have so far drawn a blank.

On Thursday the British government is due to host a ministerial meeting in London about northern Nigeria's security, following on from a summit in Paris last month in which the best ways to subdue the Boko Haram militant group were discussed.

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.

line
Who are Boko Haram?
A screen-grab taken on 12 May 2014, from a video released by Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has been designated a terrorist by the US government
  • Founded in 2002
  • Initially focused on opposing Western education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
  • Some three million people affected
  • Declared terrorist group by US in 2013

Who are Boko Haram?

Profile: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Why Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram

More on This Story

Boko Haram

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a blasphemy charge is a death sentence


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum


  • Electric chairReturn of 'the chair'

    Five people talk about their roles in Tennessee's execution debate


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views

Programmes

  • A cargo shipThe Travel Show Watch

    It is not cheap or glamorous - so why are people choosing to travel by cargo ship?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.