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Soccer-Nigerian press protest Boko Haram with World Cup T-shirts

Reuters

CUIABA, Brazil, June 21 (Reuters) - The Nigerian press covering the World Cup in Brazil seized on the high-profile soccer tournament on Saturday show their opposition to the Boko Haram Islamist militants by wearing protest T-shirts.

The T-shirts sported the slogan "The World Unites Against Boko Haram" and the flags of Nigeria and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who squared off in their Group F match in Cuiaba's Pantanal arena.

Eneka Odikpo, commentator for Radio Nigeria, said he had distributed 250 T-shirts among his fellow Nigerian journalists and some Nigerian fans and soccer officials were also wearing them.

"We felt this is a good platform for the world to see the efforts Nigerians are making, apart from the government, to see that this menace is cleaned out completely in our society," Odikpo said.

Boko Haram, which translates as "Western education is a sin," has emerged as a well-armed insurrection. Their militants abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in April in an unresolved case that has sparked a wave of international condemnation.

Earlier this week, at least 14 people died when a bomb tore through a venue where World Cup fans had gathered to watch a match. On Saturday, militants stormed a village near where the schoolgirls were kidnapped and killed several people.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said Friday that the violence had compounded Nigerians' frustration with World Cup results so far and he hoped to give them a victory on Saturday.

But Odikpo said he didn't think the violence back home was distracting the coach or team.

"Nobody should use it as an excuse, at all," he said. (Reporting by Mary Milliken, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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