The United States does “not yet know the motive for the attack” on a US convoy in Nigeria Tuesday, but has “no indications at this time that it was targeted against our Mission,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
According to the top US diplomat, “the convoy was carrying nine Nigerian nationals: five employees of the US Mission to Nigeria and four members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
“They were traveling in advance of a planned visit by US Mission personnel to a US-funded flood response project in Anambra,” he said in a statement.
At least four people were killed in the attack by “unknown assailants” on the two vehicle convoy, Blinken said, and the other five remain unaccounted for.
Local police told CNN on Tuesday that two of the people killed were US Mission workers and two were police officers.
Blinken extended his condolences “to the families of those killed in the attack,” as well as vowed “to do everything possible to safely recover those who remain missing.”
“US Mission personnel are working urgently with Nigerian counterparts to ascertain the location and condition of the members of the convoy who are unaccounted for,” he said, adding: “We condemn in the strongest terms this attack. We will work closely with our Nigerian law enforcement colleagues in seeking to bring those responsible to justice.”
Hours before the attack on the US convoy Tuesday, Blinken spoke with Nigerian President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu about the US’ “continued commitment to further strengthening the US-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration,” according to a State Department readout.
“The Secretary noted that the US-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect Tinubu’s tenure,” the readout said.
The leaders, according to the readout, “discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, continued comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth.”