Niger cuts off third of mobile phones to stop crime

Nov 27, 2013
A man uses his telephone on a market place in Agadez, northern Niger, on September 26, 2010

Niger has deactivated a third of its mobile phone connections to curb anonymous phone calls used for criminal activity, the country's telecoms regulator has announced.

"From today, non-registered SIM cards can no longer be used," said Almoustapha Boubacar, director-general of the regulator on Tuesday.

Unattributed numbers represented 1.7 million of the west African country's 5.4 million mobile subscribers, Boubacar said at a press conference, appearing alongside bosses from four of Niger's telecoms providers.

Niger's authorities demanded in 2012 that subscribers register with their provider in order to safeguard the security of citizens and the state "against increasing levels of criminal behaviour."

Mobile phone users were forced to show identity papers to operators during a subsequent security drive, which ended last Sunday.

Sales of previously activated SIM cards were now banned, Boubacar said.

Niger plays the unwilling host to a number of terrorist groups from Mali and Nigeria due to poor border security.

After the kidnapping of two French nationals in 2011 in the Nigerien capital of Niamey, who were ultimately killed during a rescue operation by French forces, investigators were able to trace a path using phones and SIM cards from Niger to Mali via Nigeria, according to a police source.

The phone number of a "Nigerian intermediary" between Islamist terror groups Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had been discovered as a result, the source said.

Explore further: Millions without mobile phone service in Argentina

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

French police dismantle mobile phone hacking ring

Sep 27, 2010

French police have busted a network of mobile phone hackers, a fraud worth millions of euros, and arrested nine people, including employees of cellular phone companies, investigators said Sunday.

Nigerian unrest harming anti-polio efforts

Aug 27, 2012

A deadly Islamist insurgency in northern Nigeria has harmed efforts to eradicate polio in the region, the WHO says, with a resurgence of the potentially paralysing virus reversing gains.

Recommended for you

Britain's BT in talks to buy mobile operator EE

Dec 15, 2014

BT Group PLC said Monday it is in exclusive talks to buy mobile phone operator EE from Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange for 12.5 billion pounds ($20 billion) in cash and shares.

Re-imagining the network

Dec 12, 2014

Communication networks are evolving to keep pace with increasing consumer needs and business demands. We've already experienced the progressive jumps from 1G to 4G wireless networks and 5G is looming in the not-too-distant ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.