US temporarily shuts embassies in Africa

The United States has closed 40 of its embassies in Africa for two days as a precaution following military action in Iraq and fears of violent retaliation, news organisations reported today. State Department spokesman James Rubin was quoted by the BBC as saying that: “In view of the number of threats and the heightened threat environment, 40 embassies across Africa were to be closed”. Only those in South Africa, Nigeria and Burkina Faso were reported to have stayed open. The embassies were closed on 17 and 18 December. The scope of the closings, even on a temporary basis, is believed to be unprecedented and has raised questions about whether such action is warranted, Reuters said.

After the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in August, strict security measures were enforced.

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