Nigeria boosted security at foreign diplomatic buildings after a fatal assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and protests in Egypt over an American movie that was derogatory of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other officials were killed in an attack on the American consulate that started on Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya, while protesters in Cairo stormed the U.S. embassy there.
Nigerian police are on “red alert” and ensuring “24-hour water-tight security in and around all embassies and foreign missions in Nigeria,” spokesman Frank Mba said today in an e-mailed statement from Abuja, the capital.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country of more than 160 million people, is almost evenly split between a largely Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. In 2002, more than 100 people died in sectarian riots in the northern Kano and Kaduna cities after an local newspaper published a report about a Miss World pageant in Abuja that radical Muslim groups said insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
Authorities in Africa’s top oil producer are battling an Islamist insurgency by the Boko Haram group in the Muslim north and Abuja that has caused hundreds of civilian deaths so far this year. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks and says it’s campaigning to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.
Nigerian troops yesterday arrested 11 suspected Boko Haram Islamists following a raid on their hideout in Waka-Biu, about 180 kilometres (112 miles) from the northeastern Borno state capital of Maiduguri, a spokesman for the military Joint Task Force in the state, said today in an e-mailed statement.
Security forces captured more than 50 improvised bombs, guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, he said.