September 6, 2007 / 6:30 PM / 12 years ago

U.S. official plays down Nigeria terrorist threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. official on Thursday played down a U.S. Embassy warning that Western interests in Nigeria were at risk of terrorist attack, saying the advisory was based on “very nonspecific threat information.”

“I’d steer you away from the idea that this was some major terror plot and I’d kind of point you more in the direction of things associated with Nigerian local kinds of actions,” said the U.S. State Department official, who asked not to be identified.

“No one should think that this means that Osama bin Laden is planning a major attack in Nigeria,” the official told reporters in Washington. “That’s not the level of what we are talking about.

“Local organizations, as far as I understand it, is the nature of the threat,” he added. “This was described to me as one of these things where they had some very nonspecific threat information.”

Earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria issued a message to Americans in Nigeria saying that U.S. and other Western interests in Africa’s largest oil producer are at risk of “terrorist attack.” The warning gave few details but said potential targets could include official and commercial sites in the capital Abuja and the commercial city of Lagos.

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