US President, Barack Obama
By Yemi Adebowale
The US State Department has confirmed reports that the FBI was assisting Nigerian authorities in their attempts to respond to the Boko Haram violence.
"A bomb technician has been in Nigeria working with the Nigerian government on the ongoing investigations of the recent bombings," said Hilary F. Renner, chief spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs yesterday.
Meanwhile, the US State Department updated its travel warning for Nigeria this week, restricting travel by US government personnel to northern parts of Nigeria and asserting the risk of "attacks against Western targets in Nigeria remains high."
The warning arrives days after the shadowy Islamist sect, Boko Haram, took responsibility for a suicide car-bombing that killed three people and wounded 39 outside a church in Jos, Plateau State.
The blast was the latest in a string of terrorist attacks claimed by Boko Haram and highlighted rising religious tension in the country.
"Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society, in which different ethnic and religious groups often live in the same area," the State Department travel warning said, adding that the violence is "exacerbating tensions along those lines."
The warning cites a host of attacks by Boko Haram during the past year, including the choreographed series of car bombings that hit Nigerian law enforcement posts January 20, and August's suicide attack that killed 25 people at the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria.
The State Department noted that more than 150 Boko Haram members escaped from a prison in central Nigeria in September 2010.
Some of them "may now be participating in attacks in other parts of the country," it said.