On Sunday, the United States and Britain issued a warning over a potential terrorist assault in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, with particular emphasis on targeting government structures, houses of worship, and educational institutions.
This is according to a memo on security alert the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria wrote on its website.
Nigeria has been facing insurgency, but the attacks on the country’s capital in recent months have been raising concerns about the level of security of the capital city. In July, terrorists fatally ambushed soldiers of an elite unit of the Nigerian Army in Abuja, the 7 Guards Battalion of the Nigerian Army Presidential Guards Brigade, and killed eight soldiers, including two officers at the Bwari Area Council. They also claimed credit for a raid on an Abuja jail that resulted in the release of over 440 prisoners, sparking concerns that terrorists were leaving their strongholds.
According to the U.S. Embassy, there is a heightened danger of terrorist strikes in Nigeria, notably Abuja. It stated, “There is an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja. Targets may include but are not limited to, government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, athletic gatherings, transport terminals, law enforcement facilities, and international organizations. The U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice.”
The Embassy advised the avoidance of all non-essential travel or movement. Cautioned people to stay alert and avoid crowds. Furthermore, it stated that people should review their security plans, keep their cell phones charged in case of emergency, and carry proper identification.
The U.S. Embassy will provide fewer services up until further notice, according to a memo sent to Nigerian citizens.
Similarly, the government of the United Kingdom issued a warning to residents in Nigeria, stating that there was a “greater threat of terrorist attack in Abuja.” Attacks “may be indiscriminate and may harm Western interests as well as tourist destinations,” it said.
However, the DSS has called for calm, stating that every necessary precaution was being taken. In a press release by the department’s Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, it stated that “The Department of State Services (DSS) has received several inquiries relating to the security advisory issued by the US Embassy in Abuja, today, 23/10/22. The public may recall that the Service had variously issued similar warnings in the past.”
“While advising that necessary precautions are taken by all and sundry, the populace is enjoined to remain alert and assist security agencies with useful information regarding threats and suspicious criminal acts around them. Meanwhile, the Service calls for calm as it works with other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to maintain peace and order in and beyond Abuja.”
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