Washington orders its non-emergency employees and their family members to depart the West African country's main city, citing a "heightened risk of terrorist attacks."

In addition to Abuja, US advises citizens not to travel to a number of Nigerian states, including Borno and Yobe in the northeast.
In addition to Abuja, US advises citizens not to travel to a number of Nigerian states, including Borno and Yobe in the northeast. (TRTWorld)

The United States has ordered its non-emergency diplomatic staff and their families to leave the Nigerian capital Abuja, citing a "heightened risk of terrorist attacks."

The US State Department did not specify the threat on Thursday, but its country summary for Nigeria warned that "terrorists may attack with little or no warning," targeting malls, markets, hotels, restaurants, bars or schools.

The latest US security move comes after the embassy on Sunday urged Americans to limit their movements due to an "elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja" — a warning repeated by Britain, Canada and Australia.

In addition to Abuja, the United States advised citizens not to travel to a number of Nigerian states, including Borno and Yobe in the northeast.

The US embassy in Abuja is only able to provide emergency assistance to US citizens in the city and the consulate in Lagos is providing all routine and emergency services to US citizens in Nigeria, according to the department.

"The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions," the department added.

Residents in the Abuja area, including Western diplomats, have been increasingly worried about insecurity after a mass jailbreak from Kuje, a prison on the outskirts of the city, in July.

READ MORE: Panic in Nigeria's capital after US, UK issue security alerts

Insurgents linked to Daesh have claimed several attacks in the surrounding areas of capital Abuja over the past six months.
Insurgents linked to Daesh have claimed several attacks in the surrounding areas of capital Abuja over the past six months. (TRTWorld)

'Necessary precautions'

Nigeria's domestic security agency has urged residents to stay calm and to take "necessary precautions," with police ordering a counterterrorism exercise in the capital.

Additional security personnel has been assigned to guard offices of political parties in the capital, said a security source.

Some elementary and secondary private schools have also shut down operations in fear, despite assurances by the authorities, the former head of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools said.

Abuja, a pre-planned capital of six million people built in the 1980s, has historically been seen as safe, but insurgents linked to Daesh have claimed several attacks in surrounding areas over the past six months.

READ MORE: Farmer-herder clashes in Nigeria leave more than a dozen dead

Source: TRTWorld and agencies