The White House confirmed on Tuesday that a US convoy vehicle was attacked in Nigeria, but no US citizens were harmed in the incident. But the attack left at least four people dead and several others kidnapped.
The convoy, consisting of two U.S. government vehicles, was ambushed by unknown assailants in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra state. It was carrying a total of nine Nigerian nationals, including five employees from the U.S. Mission to Nigeria and four members of the Nigeria Police Force.
Their purpose was to make preparations for an upcoming visit by U.S. Mission personnel to a flood response project in Anambra, funded by the United States, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Wednesday, adding that the U.S. Mission is working closely with Nigerian authorities to determine the fate and whereabouts of the remaining individuals who are still unaccounted for.
A Nigerian police chief in Anambra was quoted as saying that the attackers “murdered two police operatives and two staff of the US consulate and set their bodies and their vehicles ablaze.”
During a White House press briefing, John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, stated that while no US citizens were involved, casualties were reported, potentially including fatalities.
“What I can tell you is that no US citizens were involved,” affirmed National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby. He added, “But we are aware of some casualties, perhaps even some killed, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are right now.”
Kirby highlighted that the White House and relevant authorities are actively investigating the incident to gather more information and determine the full extent of the casualties.
Anambra, the state where the attack took place, is the home state of presidential candidate Peter Obi, who recently experienced electoral defeat. As the inauguration of President-elect Tinubu on May 29 approaches, tensions have escalated, leading to significant unrest among certain segments of the population. It remains unclear whether the attack is linked to the aftermath of the contentious election, which many believe was heavily rigged and is currently being challenged in court. Alternatively, the attackers may have been motivated by other factors, such as criminal or extremist motives.
Blinken said that while the motive behind the attack is currently unknown, there are no indications at this time that the U.S. Mission itself was the intended target. However, the U.S. government has pledged to support Nigerian law enforcement in their efforts to bring those responsible to justice.
The attack has prompted concerns about the safety of American personnel operating in Nigeria and underscores the volatile situation in the region.