ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigerian security officials said Wednesday they have thwarted plans by Islamic State group-linked Boko Haram members to attack the embassies of the United States and Britain.
A statement by the Department of State Services said that late last month it broke up a ring that had "perfected plans to attack" the embassies along with "other Western interests" in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.
The statement said five suspects who had been based in Benue state and the Federal Capital Territory were arrested. It gave no further details, and officials with the department could not immediately be reached.
The U.S. embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The State Department on April 5 issued an updated travel warning for Nigeria, warning that Boko Haram has targeted government installations and other venues in the past in the Federal Capital Territory and elsewhere.
One faction of Boko Haram is allied with the Islamic State group.
Nigeria's president late last year declared the Boko Haram insurgency "crushed," but its fighters continue to threaten the vast region around Lake Chad in defiance of a multinational force. It has increasingly used children, especially girls, as suicide bombers.
Boko Haram's seven-year Islamic uprising has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.