WASHINGTON has issued a travel warning to US citizens planning to visit Nigeria in response to the recent upsurge in violence that has resulted in the deaths of dozens of people across several states in the north of the country.
Over the last week, about 50 people are reported to have been killed in Zamfara State as the growing banditry there continues to escalate. In southern Kaduna State too, the ongoing communal violence between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farming communities has also claimed more lives over the last week.
In response to the crisis, the US Department of State has cautioned its citizens to reconsider travel to Nigeria because violent crime, such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, rape and piracy, is common throughout the country. In a travel advisory note published on its website, Nigeria was listed among 35 countries with a K indicator, that indicates where US citizens could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage.
Countries on the list include Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. While Nigeria was placed on Level Three, the US Department of State issued a Level Four travel alert for Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
A US State Department spokesman said: “The security situation in northeast Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in Borno and Yobe states and northern Adamawa State. Terrorist groups based in the northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues and approximately 2m Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence.”