Monday, May 27, 2013

Nigerians cut off from Families without phone access

Many Nigerians have lost phone contact with families and relatives following military intervention against Boko Haram."I don't know what is happening to my parents, my brothers, my sister," a 62-year-old man said in his homeland in Maiduguri.

Nigerians cut off from families without phone access
Nigerians with no phone access
Nigerian military cut mobile phone and internet services more than a week ago in much of the country's northeast, where it has launched an offensive against Islamist insurgents, leaving families out of touch and forcing hospitals to buy radios.

A senior security source told AFP the phone network was frozen as part of "the operational strategy" to defeat Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, known to coordinate attacks by phone and text message.

The Red Cross have not yet visited affected areas. With the phone network shut down, civilians impacted by the fighting have been unreachable.

"Nobody can tell what is happening," said Gubio, who said many of his relatives live in an area south of Maiduguri where the military reportedly carried out air strikes on Boko Haram camps.

The chief medical director of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Abdurrahman Tahir, said he has seen no rise in the number of casualties brought to the hospital since the offensive was launched, suggesting the conflict has been concentrated far from the city.

But the communication breakdown has made running a hospital more difficult, especially an emergency service which relies heavily on mobile phones in an area with almost no functioning land lines, Tahir said.

"We are in the process of acquiring radios,"

While the phone shutdown has affected everyone, Haruna Mamuda, 30, has perhaps felt the impact most directly: he sells mobile phone recharge cards and, not surprisingly, the market has dried up.

He said life was difficult as a result, but, like Gubio, added that he was willing to make the sacrifice.

"If it helps end the insurgency, I am happy with it," he said

Sources: AFP


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