19 August 2012

Nigeria: Eid-El-Fitr - U.S. Issues Warnings to Citizens in Nigeria

As muslims in Nigeria celeberate Eid-el-Fitr, the United States Mission in Nigeria has issued an emergency message to update its citizens on the current security situation in the country.

According to the Embassy in a statement posted on its website, "This weekend marks the end of Ramadan with Eid-el-Fitr. The bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, which caused 26 deaths and numerous injuries, occurred during this holiday weekend in 2011. The U.S. Mission believes that an anniversary security event could occur, and warns citizens to exercise caution and remain vigilant throughout the four-day holiday weekend.

"This year, extremists have attacked many locations in Nigeria, killing and injuring hundreds of people. They have threatened churches, mosques, media houses, police stations, immigration and customs offices, financial institutions, large hotels, shopping malls and markets, state government offices, communications centres, beer gardens, and nightclubs."

The statement from the embassy further said that attackers have also burnt and destroyed several public and private schools in Borno, and targeted several educational institutions in Kano and churches in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, and Borno states. Additionally, extremists continue to target westerners for abduction.

"As such, the situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. The U.S. Mission in Nigeria strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to consider their personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their planning," it said.

The embassy also warned all U.S. citizens to use caution and discretion when deciding to attend large functions or visit establishments identified as potential targets and respond appropriately, if they detect suspicious activities. "Because of ongoing security concerns within the Federal Capital Territory, U.S. citizens should continue to expect heavy traffic congestion, road blocks, and significant police/security force deployments," it noted.

It also warned that all US citizens should remain vigilant of their surroundings, limit exposure to large crowds, and keep their cellular telephones in close proximity for use in cases of emergency.

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