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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Panic at Nigerian 'killer calls'
Man on mobile phone
Mobile phone use has taken off in Nigeria in recent years
Nigerian mobile phone users have been anxiously checking who is calling them before answering them in recent days.

A rumour has spread rapidly in the commercial capital, Lagos, that if one answers calls from certain "killer numbers" then one will die immediately.

A BBC reporter says experts and mobile phone operators have been reassuring the public via the media that death cannot result from receiving a call.

He says that in such a superstitious country unfounded rumours are common.

A list of alleged killer numbers has been circulated but no-one is reported to have died from answering the phone.

The BBC's reporter in Lagos, Sola Odunfa, says that the current scare story is reminiscent of a rumour that spread a few years ago that a handshake could cause sexual organs to disappear.

That rumour turned to tragedy as mobs rounded on people accused of making organs disappear.

Despite the massive public interest, no-one was found to have lost their organs.

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