11 June 2014 | News Comments

Terrorism forces Nigeria to close sports bars

Soldiers in Nigeria’s Adamawa State – which lies at the heart of an Islamist revolt – have shut down all venues preparing to screen live World Cup matches, hoping to stave off the kind of attacks that have killed more than 20 people in the past two weeks.

Nigeria has seen an increasingly bold series of attacks over the past five years by the Islamist militants called Boko Haram, including the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

Since then, militants have set off a car bomb that killed 18 people watching a game on television at a centre in the Adamawa settlement of Gavan, on 1 June.

"Our action is not to stop Nigerians ... watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives" - Nigeria's Brigadier-General Nicholas Rogers

A week before, a suicide bomber set out for an open-air screening of a match in Nigeria's central city of Jos. His car blew up on the way, killing three people.

Such assaults on often-ramshackle television viewing centres across Africa have raised fears that  militant groups will target supporters gathering to cheer on the global soccer contest.

"Our action is not to stop Nigerians ... watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives," Brigadier-General Nicholas Rogers said on Wednesday in Yola, the capital of northeastern Adamawa state, which has been hit regularly by Boko Haram raids.