Nigeria Islamists claim phone company fires, threaten media
Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram on Thursday claimed a set of fires at telecom masts across the north, while threatening journalists with the Voice of America radio network.
Roughly two dozen blazes were set at mobile phone towers in cities across the restive region Tuesday and Wednesday, marking a new type of attack from a group that has become notorious for deadly gun and bomb assaults.
"We decided to launch attacks on masts of mobile telecom operators as a result of the assistance they offer security agents," said an email from the group's spokesman, Abul Qaqa.
This information helps Nigerian security forces "in arresting our brethren," the statement added.
Nigeria's police chief on Thursday ordered 24-hour surveillance of telecom installations in response to the spate of fires.
The Islamist group -- blamed for more than 1,400 deaths in northern and central Nigeria since 2010 -- also issued a warning to the staff of US government-funded broadcaster Voice of America.
Last month, the network quoted a source it claimed was a deputy to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who in June was designated a global terrorist by the United States. (...)