US embassy warns radical Muslims could bomb hotels

A RADICAL Muslim sect responsible for attacks that left more than 100 people dead in north-east Nigeria at the weekend could bomb three luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in oil-rich nation’s capital, the US Embassy warned yesterday.

The unusually specific warning from US diplomats identified possible targets of the sect known locally as Boko Haram as the Hilton, Nicon Luxury and Sheraton hotels. Those hotels draw diplomats, politicians and Nigeria’s business elite daily in the country’s central capital of Abuja.

The embassy said the attack may come as Nigeria celebrates the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha and that its diplomats and staff had been instructed to avoid those hotels.

Deb MacLean, an embassy spokeswoman, declined to offer further details about the threat or the source of the information yesterday.

The warning came as a Nigerian Red Cross official said yesterday that more than 100 died in a series of attacks in northeast Nigeria launched by the radical Muslim sect, as sect gunmen shot and killed another police officer.

Ibrahim Bulama said he expected the number of dead to rise as local clinics and hospitals tabulate the casualty figures from the attacks on Friday in Damaturu, the capital of rural Yobe state.

Meanwhile, the sect known locally as Boko Haram killed a police inspector yesterday in the city of Maiduguri, the sect’s spiritual home about 130km east of Damaturu. Sect gunmen stopped the officer’s car at gunpoint as he neared a mosque to pray with his family, local police commissioner Simeon Midenda said.

Gunmen ordered the family away, then shot the inspector to death, Midenda said. The sect members later allowed his family to drive the car away.

Statements issued late on Saturday show the UN Security Council called the attacks Friday in the cities of Damaturu and Maiduguri “criminal and unjustifiable”.

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