The US has ordered family members of embassy staff to leave Nigeria due to the increased risk of terrorism

Abuja, Nigeria

The State Department has ordered non-emergency US embassy staff and family members in Abuja, Nigeria to leave the country “due to the increased risk of terrorist attacks there.”

The department also issued a “Level 3” travel advisory for the entire country, urging: “Reconsider traveling to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping and maritime crime.”

Earlier this week, the State Department authorized the departure of non-emergency US government employees and family members after earlier warning of planned attacks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“Targets may include government buildings, places of worship, schools, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, sporting events, transportation terminals, law enforcement facilities and international organizations,” the Oct. 23 advisory said. said about the alleged plots.

In an updated travel advisory issued on Thursday, the State Department marked 15 more Nigerian states on its “Do Not Travel” list due to dangers ranging from terrorism to kidnapping and criminal activity at sea.

In a similar advisory to British citizens, the UK government advised against non-essential travel to the Nigerian capital, and warned against all travel to 12 Nigerian states.

A popular Abuja mall closed its doors on Thursday to protect staff and customers, its management said, as it reviewed the security situation in consultation with authorities.

Nigeria’s police chief, Usman Alkali Baba, has said there is no “immediate threat” in the country’s Federal Capital Territory.

“The Inspector General of Police therefore allays the fear of FCT residents and advises them to go about their legal business and normal social life/commitments because all hands are on deck to cut security threats at the earliest and respond to distress calls immediately,” his office said in a statement on Thursday. a statement

“The IGP likewise reiterates the commitment of the Nigeria Police to eliminate all threats as well as protect the lives and property of all residents of the country,” the statement added.

Widespread insurgency has continued in Nigeria’s north-east, even as the country struggles to contain motorcycle gangs known locally as “thugs” who have been waging deadly attacks on communities in the north-west region.

Nigeria also struggles with widespread kidnappings for ransom and maritime crimes in the southern region.

Hundreds of prisoners were freed in a prison raid in the country’s capital in July. According to authorities, all Boko Haram-linked prisoners escaped during the attack.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.