Boko Haram threatens mobile firms

Boko Haram threatens mobile firms

A purported spokesman for Nigeria’s militant Boko Haram late Feb. 13 threatened the group would soon launch attacks on mobile telephone firms for their alleged complicity with security agents.

In a phone conference with reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, a man who claimed to be Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa said the sect would “soon launch attacks” on mobile phone operators and state-run regulator Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

He accused them of complicity with security agents in bugging the phones of sect members to track them. “We have realized that the mobile phone operators and the NCC have been assisting security agencies in tracking and arresting our members by bugging their lines and and enabling the security agents to locate the position of our members,” he said.

Al-Qaeda figure released

Elsewhere on the world, Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric whom British officials say is an al-Qaeda figurehead and a threat to national security, was freed from an English prison into virtual house arrest late Feb. 13, British media reported.

The Palestinian-Jordanian cleric has spent more than six years in prison, but a tribunal ruled last week he should be released on bail. The terms of his bail, published by the judiciary, require Abu Qatada to wear an electronic tag and to stay inside his home for 22 hours each day. He is not allowed a mobile phone, a computer or Internet access, and he is barred from communicating with a long list of individuals, including al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in both Spanish and British courts as a leading al-Qaeda figure in Europe. He is reported to have had close ties to the late Osama bin Laden.