After warning of a possible terrorist attack in the Nigerian capital, the United States embassy has ordered its citizens to leave the country or avoid Abuja at all costs.
In a wake of a warning by the American embassy that they have valid intelligence that terrorists are planning a deadly attack in Nigeria, it has issued a warning all Americans to reconsider travelling to any part of the country and not to visit Abuja at all.
The announcement to its citizens and families of staff working in the American embassy in Abuja is coming two days after the department said it would allow nonessential personnel at the embassy in Abuja to depart voluntarily due to elevated security concerns.
However, many citizens have criticized the decision of the United States not to provide details to the country’s government or security agencies on the planned attacks. But the latest announcement goes a long way to prove that the embassy may be privy to some vital Intel that an attack may be imminent.
“The department (has) ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees from Abuja due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks there,” it said in a revised travel advisory for Nigeria.
Nigeria has battled an Islamic insurgency in its northeast for over a decade, but attacks have been rare in Abuja.
In 2011, Islamic extremists linked to the Boko Haram group targeted the United Nations building there with a car bomb, killing 21 people.
The U.S. embassy in Abuja has been warning since Sunday about an "elevated risk of terror attacks” in the city, saying that possible targets include government buildings, places of worship and other public places. It has urged Americans there to avoid all nonessential movements and crowds.
In the same vein, the British mission in Nigeria has issued similar alerts. At the time of filing this report, some American citizens have already started leaving the country.
However, Nigeria’s secret and intelligence police, the Department of State Services, has called for calm and has advised that “necessary precautions” are being taken to prevent such attacks.
You will recall that the United States issued a similar terror alert on South Africa a few days after it announced its warning to Nigeria.
In the alert posted on its embassy website on Wednesday, the US said it received information that terrorists may be planning to attack large gatherings of people in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday.
The US advised its citizens to avoid large gatherings in the named area, and leave the country if they can.
“The US government has received information that terrorists may be planning to conduct an attack targeting large gatherings of people at an unspecified location in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 October 2022,” the alert reads.
“There is no further information regarding the timing, method, or target of the potential attack.
“The US embassy has advised staff to avoid crowds of people and other large public gatherings in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg during the weekend of October 29-30 2022.”
On Sunday, the US warned its citizens in Nigeria about possible terror attacks in parts of the country.
It said the federal capital territory (FCT) stands a high risk of attack, and that terrorists may target government buildings, places of worship, schools and markets.
However, the Department of State Services (DSS) has called for calm over the alert on the likelihood of attacks in Nigeria, adding that security agencies are taking measures to ensure safety.
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Credit: Africa News, The Cable