JTF bans Thuraya phones in Borno, others, says Boko Haram use them for attacks

 States under emergency rule witness another setback in communication.

The Joint Task Force, JTF, on Wednesday banned, indefinitely, the use of thuraya phones in all states under emergency rule.

Thuraya phones are based on satellite technology and do not rely on any of the existing GSM networks in Nigerian to function.

The Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, have reportedly resorted to using thuraya phones to coordinate attacks since mobile communication was largely suspended by the military.

The ban on thuraya may worsen the communication challenges being faced by residents in the affected states as GSM networks have been largely shut for about five weeks since the emergency rule declaration.

The Spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Sagir Musa, said in a statement made available to journalists that the ban on thuraya became necessary as military intelligence revealed that terrorists now coordinate their attacks using the device.

The JTF said recent attacks on schools and killing of students by Boko Haram were carried out using thuraya devices.

“The attention of the JTF has been drawn to the use of Thuraya phones by Boko Haram Terrorists to coordinate their recent assassination of civilians especially schools and some Imams”.

“Therefore, with effect from 19 June, 2013, the JTF impose ban on the use and sale of Thuraya phones and accessories including Thuraya recharge cards in Borno States, Anyone seen with Thuraya phones, recharge cards and accessories will be arrested.

“The JTF seeks for the continued cooperation and understanding of the public on this ban in order to enhance security of lives and property in Borno State,” the statement read.


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  • That’s serious.

    • Dan maikoko

      Thuraya will not cooperate.

    • Marshal Johnson

      JTF should indeed use Thuraya phone networks to track those phone numbers suspected to be used by the Boko Haram terrorists.That is another way the company can fulfill it corporate responsibility to the government of Nigeria.

      • Dan maikoko

        Now you are thinking! Even a 10 year old kid will guess this much!

        • Marshal Johnson

          Now tell your Boko Haram comrades to embrace the amnesty program now that there is still time for it before they are finally crushed.
          Even a 3 year old child would know it is better to live comfortably under the amnesty program than continue to kill fellow Nigerians senselessly until they are finally crushed themselves. I guess that is too advanced for a typical Boko Haram cow to understand.

  • Marshal Johnson

    What about those already in possession of Boko haram killer commanders? Can’t the entire system of thuraya be suspended in the interim?

    • It may also affect the JTF even the media if the entire system of Thuraya is suspended.

    • Dan maikoko

      Thuraya is an international company working according to the law. They have international obligations and therefore will not shut down its system for any non-natural disaster reasons, the legal cost will completely ground the company. Nigeria however is a lawless country where everything goes. Highways can be blocked, mobile comms systems shut down without notice, light goes out anytime, truck drivers can block the national highway because of a dispute with the police, a whole international airport can be shut down without notice because the president decides he wants to fly through that airport, soldiers beat up people because of a loan dispute….infact Nigeria is worst than Afghanistan and Somalia combined.

      • Marshal Johnson

        Your reply has exposed your ignorance of the law or simply your desire to foment mischief.

        Every country makes laws to give business groups a fair playing field and not to jeopardize its national security.When business interests jeopardize national security,national security takes supersedes every other interest.

        It may interest you to know that even in America,when the Boston Marathon terrorists had been identified, the entire city was shut down under emergency until the terrorist brothers had been apprehended or killed.Do you think people did not have to close their businesses or even had their pre-planned journey delayed because of that? But the greater good of the country supersedes individual interests.

        MTN,Globacom,Etisalat and other GSM companies are also losing money with shut down of their networks in emergency states, it will not make sense if satellite phone networks are left open for the terrorists to coordinate their attacks on Nigerians while the GSM lines are down.

        • Dan maikoko

          Then what is stopping the Nigerian govt from asking Thuraya to shut down its services instead of banning the use of the phone? I don’t blame you for thinking that boko haram terrorists will obey the ban.

  • Dan maikoko

    This is the classic case of a backwards nation. The other day I was driving to Abuja and on the way I find myself behind a military convoy doing 100 Km/h. I tried to overtake them as I was travelling to attend to my sick sister but they warned me to stay back. This is on a national highway! To stop all phone communications in parts of a country under a state of emergency is the height of folly. Communication is the first thing to establish after natural or manmade disaster. Communication in a modern society is the key to the fight against terrorism and to shut down all communications indicates a failure somewhere in our security system. Now that they have banned Thuraya and all other satellite phones how would they implement the ban? If a boko haram member disregards the ban and decide to use the phone in his hideout how would the JTF know? The Americans deliberately allow the Taliban and al-Qaida to use VHF and HF radios to gain vital intelligence. It was a mobile phone call that led the Navy team 6 group to “Usama’s hideout” in Quetta.

    • Marshal Johnson

      Dude,try as hard as you may, TERRORISM isn’t the same as a natural or man made disaster. In terrorism,every responsible government must act proactively to secure its citizens.
      With your comments here,I don’t blame the army people refusing you to get in front of their truck,you might blow them up! Besides,isn’t the speed limit 100KM/hour? Why should you go above the speed limit?

      • Dan maikoko

        What can I say if you don’t know the speed limit on a highway?