Wednesday, April 18, 2012

US Embassy warns Boko Haram plans attacks on Nigerian capital

ABUJA (Reuters) - The United States has warned its citizens living in Nigeria that Islamist sect Boko Haram is planning attacks on the capital Abuja, including major hotels there.

Boko Haram, which wants sharia, Islamic law, more widely applied across Africa's most populous nation, has killed hundreds in gun and bomb attacks this year.

"The U.S. Embassy has received information that Boko Haram may be planning attacks in Abuja, Nigeria, including against hotels frequently visited by Westerners," an emergency message on its website said on Wednesday.

"The Nigerian government is aware of the threat and is actively implementing security measures."

The U.S. authorities issued a similar warning in November, naming the Hilton, Sheraton and Nicon Luxury as Abuja hotels that could be targets for Boko Haram, but it later retracted it.

Nigerian authorities said then that high profile hotels were always a possible target but security was tight and people should not live in fear. However, occupancy at those hotels dipped after the last U.S. warning.

The embassy did not name specific targets this time. The Hilton in Abuja said it always took security seriously.