The United States on Tuesday authorized the departure of diplomats from the Nigerian capital Abuja, stepping up precautions over what it said was the threat of attacks.
The State Department said in a statement it was permitting but not requiring non-emergency US personnel and their families to leave Abuja “due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.”
It did not order an evacuation and overall travel advice to Americans was unchanged, with the State Department advising citizens to reconsider non-essential travel to Nigeria due to concerns over crime and unrest.
The latest US security move comes after the embassy on Sunday urged Americans to limit their movements due to an “elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja,” a warning repeated by Britain, Canada and Australia.
The United States did not specify the threat. Abuja, a pre-planned capital of six million people built in the 1980s, has historically been seen as safe but insurgents linked to the Islamic State group have claimed several attacks in surrounding areas over the past six months.
Nigeria’s domestic security agency has urged residents to stay calm and to take “necessary precautions,” with police ordering a counter-terrorism exercise in Abuja.