Do you get annoyed when you can’t get mobile phone signal? How about finding yourself restless on the tube without being able to check your email or texts? Spare a thought for people in Nigeria who are constantly having mobile phone issues because extremist Islamic terrorists keep taking out vital cell towers.
The terrorist group Boko Haram has taken responsibility for the attacks. They want to impose Sharia law in Nigeria and justify the damage they have caused by saying that mobile communications help the security forces bring them to justice. So far their attacks have affected the operations of nine mobile networks in the country.
The group has been taking down the mobile masts mainly by bombing them. It first threatened the attacks back in February and now has caused millions of pounds worth of damage to equipment as each cell tower can cost much more than £500,000. Of course, the full economic impact through inconvenience to businesses will be much greater.
The attacks on mobile phone masts are just one aspect of the terror campaign. Boko Haram have also been attacking government building and assassinating people in Nigeria. This year alone they are responsible for 650 murders. Experts suspect that they are collaborating with other extremist terrorist organisations such as Al-Qaeda. The name Boko Haram roughly means “Western education is unholy”. Their beliefs largely consist of opposition to any laws made by men and testable scientific and technological achievements. While this does explain the attacks on mobile phone networks, it doesn’t exactly explain the use of high explosives. Nor their use of the internet to radicalise and recruit.