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US Closes Consulate in Nigeria Amid Security Threat

U.S. authorities have temporarily closed the American consulate in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, because of a security threat. Other diplomatic missions in the city have done the same.

A statement read by a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Claudia Anyaso, said a threat to security was the reason for closing the Lagos consulate Thursday afternoon.

"The U.S. Consulate in Lagos will close, beginning 3:00 p.m. local time June 16, because of a security issue of mutual concern to the U.S. mission in Nigeria and the government of Nigeria. This security issue is being addressed with the help and close collaboration of relevant Nigerian authorities," she announced.

U.S. officials would not give specific details on the threat.

The consulate remained closed Friday, while security staff reviewed the situation. It is scheduled to reopen Monday, said an official in Lagos.

The decision by American authorities in Nigeria prompted at least one other foreign mission to follow suit. British officials said their decision to close their consulate in Lagos Friday was a direct result of U.S. security concerns.

Several countries have consulates near the American mission. British officials said other countries had followed the American example.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is home to several festering civil conflicts. An armed struggle for control over the oil-rich Niger Delta regularly leads to the abduction of foreign nationals. Violent clashes frequently erupt between the country's Muslims and Christians.

Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden has cited Nigeria as a candidate for, what he called, "liberation."