Soldiers in Yola, Nigeria, have shut down all venues preparing to screen live World Cup matches, in a bid to avoid attacks by militants.
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 30 women last weekend and 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 June 1.
A week before, a suicide bomber killed three people on the way to an open-air screening of a match in Nigeria’s central city of Jos.
Such assaults on often-ramshackle television viewing centres across Africa have raised fears 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.