The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday banned the sale and use of Thuraya satellite phones in Borno State in order to further stifle communication and stem renewed attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram.
This is the first time military authorities associated itself with the grounding of telephone services in three states of the northeast where insecurity has taken its toll on social and economic life of the
people. Mobile telecommunication services were completely cut-off in Borno and Yobe states on May 16, two days after the declaration of state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some days later, a similar action was taken in Adamawa State where state of emergency was also declared. Daily Trust reports that after the banning of GSM services, affluent people, including top government functionaries, politicians, businessmen and senior security operatives procured Thuraya phones which they have been using to communicate with the outside world.
The JTF yesterday declared that the use of such phones is also illegal. The decision was taken less than 24 hours after the killing of 22 people, including students, fishermen and tea vendors in Maiduguri by
suspected Boko Haram members.
“The attention of the JTF has been drawn to the use of Thuraya phones by Boko Haram terrorists to coordinate their recent assassination of civilians, especially school children and some Imams.
“Therefore, effective from June 19, 2013, the JTF imposes a ban on the use and sale of Thuraya phones and accessories including Thuraya recharge cards in Borno State. Anyone seen with Thuraya phones, recharge cards and accessories will be arrested,” a statement by JTF spokesman
Lt Colonel Sagir Musa said.
source: Daily Trust