Friday, September 30, 2011

AFRICA: NIGERIA: EXTREMIST GROUPS THREATEN PEACE

Agenzia Fides report – Tension on the eve for the celebrations of national Independence which will be celebrated tomorrow, October 1, in Nigeria. Both the Islamist Boko Haram sect, originally from the north of the Country, and MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta), active in the south, have threatened to carry out attacks in the federal capital, Abuja, on the occasion of the anniversary. Last year, MEND claimed the two car bombs which exploded a few meters from the place where the military parade was held to celebrate 50 years of national independence (see Fides 2/10/2010).
In a statement sent to the "Nigerian Tribune" newspaper, MEND, through its representative, said that the threats of the attack is due to the alleged "injustices" committed against the group. In particular, the prosecution of its leaders Henry and Charles Okah (the first is imprisoned in South Africa, the second in Nigeria).
Another part of the message states that among the reasons for the bomb threats, is to "make a point to the Boko Haram and their sponsors, who are trying to intimidate President Goodluck Jonathan simply because he is from the Niger Delta, will eventually lead to the destruction and downfall of northern political structures, including their elite".
The message also addresses specific threats to citizens of certain Countries, which according to MEND, sponsor Boko Haram, and invite them to evacuate as soon as possible from Nigeria. Even members of another group, "Akhwat Akwop", that claim to be made up of Christians from the north tired of the violence carried out by Boko Haram, have threatened the citizens of 5 Islamic countries, accused of funding the Islamist sect.
To prevent possible attacks on the occasion of Independence Day, the Nigerian authorities are taking into consideration to disconnect the mobile phone networks on the day, October 1, to avoid the coordination between terrorist cells and especially to prevent the activation of explosive devices. A measure that is still causing controversy in the country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/09/2011)

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