UPDATE: JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, has blamed the fires on Boko Haram sect, who in February vowed to attack mobile phone companies, accusing them of providing information to Nigeria’s security services.
Masts belonging to South African telecom giant MTN as well the United Arab Emirates firm Etisalat were targeted in the fires that were set late Tuesday.
“Some mobile telecommunication masts were vandalised last night in different parts of Maiduguri metropolis by some people we suspect to be members of the Boko Haram sect,” Musa told AFP.
Residents said nine masts as well as MTN‘s office in the city were torched.
Attacks have eased in recent weeks, and Musa claimed the group was now seeking out softer targets following a military crackdown on its members.
“These terrorists have now changed their tactics by resorting to attacks on telecom facilities,” he said.
Boko Haram threatened to attack mobile phone operators after its purported spokesman was arrested in February, reportedly after his phone was tracked by the security services.
Boko Haram is believed to be made up of a number of different cells and some analysts say the group has at times been cited a scapegoat for ordinary armed robberies and other criminal acts.
Suspected Boko Haram members on Wednesday killed four persons and set ablaze MTN telecoms office in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
The extremists also set nine telecommunications masts ablaze.
Details to come…