Thursday, November 10, 2011

Update: US Embassy Withdraws Threat Warning on Luxury Hotels in Abuja

In a strange development, the US Embassy in Nigeria earlier today (November 10) has withdrawn its terrorist threat warning against three luxury hotels in Abuja, saying that improved security around the hotels and on major highways have reduced the risk of an attack. The hotels named in the embassy threat included the NICON Luxury, the Sheraton Hotel and the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

COMMENT: It is very likely at the heart of the threat warning being withdrawn is the US Department of State's not wanting to get into a major dispute with Nigeria's
national security adviser, who has repeatedly dismissed the warning as not being based on any new information and has characterized the threat as an overreaction on the embassy's part.

Nevertheless, the threat's dissemination to US citizens was reasonable, given the fact that a local terrorist group,
Boko Haram, which has conducted attacks twice in Abuja, including the car-bombing attack at the UN headquarters complex in August that killed 26 and injured 150 others.

Unfortunately for the US Embassy, rescinding the terrorist threat may be hard to explain if in the weeks ahead Boko Haram strikes again in Nigeria. Yet, the reality is that political pressure will always triumph over threat analysis.

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