Citing unconfirmed reports of planned attacks in Borno and other North eastern States, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) has advised its staff “to take precautionary measures by reducing their exposure by avoiding places that could be symbolic targets for PBIED (Person-borne Improvised Explosive Devices) attacks.”
Noting that the best safety measure is to minimise exposure, UNDSS observed that previous Eid El Kabir celebrations in North Eadt has always been characterized by upsurge in the threats of terrorist attacks from Boko Haram insurgents.
“The security trend analysis is still very predictive of the likelihood of direct or indirect attacks of Small Arm Fire (SAF) and Light Arm Fire (LAF); PBIED attacks in Eid prayer locations; Shopping malls and market places; Vehicular grid lock due to intensive military check points and movement restriction within and around Maiduguri city; Collateral impact due to nearness to military locations; Kidnapping; House break in and Common theft to be high during the festivities.”
It recommended a range of generic security measures staff. They are:
• Maintain high degree of alertness and security awareness always.
• Remain aware of your surroundings, including local events. Monitor local news stations for updates that may be disseminated from time to time.
• Review your personal security arrangements.
• Avoid crowded public areas and gatherings.
• Review and limit errands to popular commercial places to reduce exposure.
• Ensure that personal emergency communication system remains functional always.
• Report any suspicious activity to UNDSS that they may notice around their offices or residential premises, to enable UNDSS to coordinate appropriate action through Host Government Security response.
In addition, the UNDSS directed its security staff, including contracted security guards, at all UN compounds to take following actions:
• Remain on high alert and to detect and immediately report any hostile surveillance of UN premises.
• Strengthen access control procedures in place to prevent and deter any unauthorized access.
It adds: “UNDSS would like to remind staff that prior and during festive season such as Eid El Kabir, we are likely to see a surge in criminal activity for obvious reasons of material gains. Such crimes involve house breakins and robbery incidents. It is therefore, advisable that staff members review their residential security and take the necessary actions to redress the identified weaknesses.”
It identified other crimes that are common at times, but usually triggered by visible and unattended items like bags, laptops, packages, phones and other valuables left in vehicles.
It, therefore, advised its staff as follows:
• Keep doors locked and windows rolled up at all times while driving especially during traffic holdups or at stop lights.
• Avoid driving alone late in the evenings.
• Ensure that valuables are out sight to reduce the potential for smash and grab robbery.
• Choose the right parking place preferably where the vehicle is clearly visible to all from afar.
• Never leave visible items unattended in the vehicle for even a few minutes.
• When stopped or asking for directions; only open the car windows not more than 10 to 12 cm to prevent snatching from outside.
• Do not stop to help strangers on the road side
• Keep to the main roads and avoid lonely dark areas or short cuts
• Ignore beggars and street vendors at stop lights
• If using a hired vehicle; do not leave your valuables behind – irrespective of how short or long time you will take.
• Do not talk on phone while driving; find a proper parking on the roadside, keep doors locked and windows rolled up
• Do not use your phone with the windows down, even if you are not driving. Phone snatching through the window are common in traffic jams.
• Do not carry original documents such as Passport and Laissez Passer etc. if not travelling out of the country.
• If possible, alert a guard to watch over your vehicle for a small tip.
• Do not leave your car engine running when you are not inside.
UNDSS also released a list f emergency telephone numbers it advised its staff to use when necessary.