Boko Haram: UK, US Warn of Planned Terrorist Attacks in Abuja During Christmas
The British and the United States governments have warned their citizens about the likelihood of terrorist groups planning to carry out bombing attacks in Abuja during the Yuletide period.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth office stated that it will raise the terrorism alert in the country during the Christmas period, the Punch reports.
“The risk of terrorist attack increases around religious festivals; so (the threat alert) will be elevated in the run-up to and throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) area during this period.
“You (British nationals) should avoid places where crowds gather, including religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport hubs and camps for displaced people,” the United Kingdom said in a statement posted on the FCO website.
Last week, the United States Embassy in Nigeria issued a similar warning titled, ‘Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Holiday Security Reminder’.
“The US Mission urges all US citizens to exercise caution in and around shopping centres, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, and other places where crowds gather in and around the Federal Capital Territory, from now through the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. Terrorist groups have threatened to conduct bombings and attacks in this area during this period.
“The US Mission remains concerned about potential attacks in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe. Travellers are urged to avoid those states through the end of the year.
“Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” the US Embassy warned.
Both statements however did not state if they were merely routine (as terror groups usually plan attacks during festive periods), or if the messages were backed by intelligence indicating that particular attacks were being planned for the period.
The Islamist group, Boko Haram, had carried out a series of attacks in Abuja in the past. Its last attack on the city was in October 2015 where it attacked two satellite towns in the city – Kuje and Nyanya – killing 15 people. Most of the recent terrorist bombing have occurred in Adamawa and Borno, in the north east of the country where the sect is most active.