22 May 2019

Nigeria: Football Federation Allays Fears Over Terrorist Attacks in Egypt

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) believes the forthcoming African Nations Cup in Egypt will be safe for the participants despite the recent terrorist attacks in the host country. The federation assured Nigerians it had been in constant touch with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on the security arrangements for the teams ahead of the competition.

NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi told The Guardian that the federation has been getting daily situation reports, adding that the owners of the competition would take the right decisions for the security of everybody.

"I want to assure Nigerians that the federation would monitor the situation in Egypt and make due consultations before making any pronouncement. The safety of our players is important to the NFF," he said. According to reports, an explosion apparently targeting a bus filled with tourists near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt wounded at least 14 people on Sunday.

The attack occurred close to a giant national museum that is under construction near the pyramids and that is scheduled to open next year. It was the second attack on tourists in Giza in six months, and it suggested that armed militants opposed to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were seeking to undermine his authority by hitting tourists at a time when he is planning a gala opening for the long-awaited institution.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack. Previous violence against tourists has been claimed by the Islamic State's Egyptian affiliate and by other armed Islamist factions opposed to Mr. el-Sisi. Four people, including three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide, died in a bomb attack on a tourist bus in Cairo in December.

There were no initial reports of deaths from Sunday's blast. Photographs posted to social media showed some people walking away from a bus whose side windows had been blown out. A construction site could be seen in the background. Ahram Online, a state-run news outlet, said that the bus had been carrying 25 tourists from South Africa and that most of the 14 wounded were from that country. The extent of their injuries was unclear.

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