UK and USA Warn Against Travel to Nigeria
The United Kingdom and the United States of America published travel advisories warning their citizens to limit traveling to Nigeria. It is not clear if the travel advisories were motivated by recent or previous terror threats. There has been an uptick in terrorist attacks in the west African country.
The US embassy in Abuja released its advisory on Sunday, October 24. “Avoid all non-essential travel or movement,” the embassy said, adding that it was “reducing services until further notice.”
The US embassy highlighted the following places as areas that may be targeted: “Government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, athletic gatherings, transport terminals, law enforcement facilities, and international organizations.” The message warned US citizens to be alert and avoid crowded places.
The UK government cautioned that “attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests, as well as places visited by tourists”. According to Africa News, Canada and Australia have published similar travel advisories.
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Nigeria has been experiencing various kinds of violence perpetrated by Islamist militants, armed kidnappers, and bandits on motorcycles. This has created an atmosphere of fear and danger in the country.
The city of Abuja was specifically highlighted as an area that could experience substantial violence. Several violent attacks carried out by parties with different intentions have taken place there.
Matters of violence in Abuja were made worse by the fact that there was a prison break in July that saw 400 inmates escape. Army and police officials had claimed, at the time, that the situation was under control but the issue is further complicated by Abuja being surrounded by mountains and forests.
The city’s central position also leaves it easily susceptible to attacks from surrounding areas.
Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) made assurances that “all necessary precautions have been taken.” DSS spokesperson Peter Afunaya called for calm, saying the city is safe for visiting.