Israelis warned against visiting Nigeria because of terror threats

National Security Council advisory urges travelers to avoid capital Abuja, leave country as soon as possible, echoing similar warnings from other Western countries

Illustrative: Nigerian security forces in Jangebe town, Zamfara state, northern Nigeria February 28, 2021. (Ibrahim Mansur/AP)
Illustrative: Nigerian security forces in Jangebe town, Zamfara state, northern Nigeria February 28, 2021. (Ibrahim Mansur/AP)

Israel’s National Security Council on Thursday issued a travel advisory urging Israelis to avoid non-essential visits to Nigeria due to the threat of terror attacks in that country.

“In recent days, there has been an increase in terrorist threats in Nigeria,” the NSC said. “The fear of possible terrorist attacks is rising in several arenas in the country, with an emphasis on the capital Abuja.”

Those already in the country should shorten their stay to the minimum possible, it said.

The NSC further recommended Israelis in the West African country should avoid crowded places, and in particular locations “identified as being used by Western/Jewish and Israeli elements.”

It also advised increased vigilance in public places such as restaurants, hotels, bars, and other leisure venues.

The NSC said that the same concerns were reflected in warnings recently issued by the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

The NSC noted that even before the Thursday advisory was issued, there had already been a travel warning against visiting Nigeria including a Level 4 “high threat” in the north and a Level 2 “occasional threat” in the rest of the country.

Earlier this week, the US and UK issued terror alerts about possible attacks in the capital Abuja.

The Department of State Services, which is Nigeria’s secret and intelligence police, on Monday called for calm and advised that “necessary precautions are taken” to prevent such attacks.

The warnings came amid heightened concerns over Nigeria’s security woes, with frequent violent attacks targeting remote communities in various parts of the country’s northern region.

Nigeria’s security forces have in the past warned of similar attacks in Abuja, which is also in the north.

It was, however, spared most such incidents until July, when nearly 1,000 inmates escaped during a jailbreak carried out by Islamic State-backed extremists.

On Sunday, the US Embassy issued an alert for “an elevated risk of terror attacks” in the city, saying that possible targets include government buildings, places of worship, and other public sites.

“The US Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice,” the mission said in a statement, urging citizens to avoid all nonessential movements and crowds.

The UK mission in Nigeria also took a similar step and restricted entry to the British High Commission in the city in an updated terrorism alert.

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