The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday banned the indefinite use of Thuraya mobile phones in all states under emergency rule, sequel to the rising spate of killings in the states under emergency rule. Thuraya phones are based on satellite technology and does not work on any of the existing GSM or CDMA networks in the country.
Boko Haram has reportedly resorted to using Thuraya phones to coordinate attacks since mobile communications were largely suspended by the military.
The ban on satellite phones may worsen the communication challenges being faced by residents in the affected states as regular mobile networks have been largely shut down for about five weeks since emergency rule was declared.
The spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said in a statement 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 school children and some Imams.
“Therefore, with effect from 19 June, 2013, the JTF imposes a ban on the use and sale of Thuraya phones and accessories including Thuraya recharge cards in Borno State. Anyone seen with Thuraya phones, recharge cards and accessories will be arrested.
“The JTF seeks 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 said.However, gunmen suspected to be members of the sect again stormed a private secondary school in the Customs area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday killing four teachers and two students.
This is as another set of suspected terrorists laid ambush on a farm situated along Maiduguri- Mafa- Dikwa Road in the city and killed two farmers.