By Hugo Odiogor, Kingsley Omonobi, with agency reports
Justice ‘ll be done — Obama
LAGOS— Nigeria, yesterday, beefed up security around diplomatic installations, buildings and embassy personnel in response to the killing of United States’ Ambassador to Libya, Mr. Christopher Stevens and three embassy officials in the US consulate in Benghazi.
The consulate was looted and damaged.
The bodies of the four Americans were at the Benghazi Airport at press time. Reports said Libyan gunmen had attacked the U.S consulate in the Eastern city of Benghazi and set it on fire.
The move coincided with that of President Barak Obama, who has ordered increased security measures around all US diplomatic installations world wide just as a 50- member Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST), has been sent to Libya.
The Marines’ FAST detachment is specially trained to protect government workers overseas. Reports, yesterday, said Ambassador Stevens and three other US embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack at the US consulate and a building where some of the dead staff were taking refuge.
Before the attack in Benghazi, there had been violent protests in Egypt where protesters scaled the wall to destroy the embassy buildings, pulled down the American flag. The anti-American protest quickly spread to Libya and other Arab states like Tunisia.
The protests have been ignited by an amateur video which Muslims described as offensive, thereby provoking Muslim faithful. The California-born ambassador Christopher Stevens played an active role in securing US support for rebels during their uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.
U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration supported the Libyan insurgency with funds, weapons and training, branded the killing an “outrageous attack” and ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide.
Justice ‘ll be done — Obama
Obama said: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.
Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”
The consulate attack followed a larger protest at the US Embassy in Cairo, where thousands shouted religious slogans and tore the US flag. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who dispatched Stevens to Benghazi said the second victim was identified as Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, who was a 10-year veteran of the State Department.
The two other victims have not been named at press time. Clinton said the government was working to contact their families.
Stevens was the sixth U.S. Ambassador to die by violence in the line of service. Two others had been killed in plane crashes. The United States was taking added security measures to protect her citizens worldwide after Tuesday’s attacks. The last time an American ambassador was murdered was in 1979, when the envoy to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, was kidnapped and killed during an attempt to rescue him, according to State Department records.
The attack, which came less than two months to the US presidential election has been linked to Al-Qaeda revenge attack for the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago. It has raised questions about the future of U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya, because of the frosty relations between Washington and Tripoli, in the post-Gaddafi Libya.
US Marines and private contractors were charged with safeguarding diplomatic posts abroad and it was unclear how the attackers managed to breach security.
The Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, under the authority of the US Navy’s Chief of Operations, was formed in 1987 to provide a fast response to security threats after a series of terror attacks in the 1980s and 1970s.
Clinton mourns US deaths, vows to stand by Libya
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, yesterday, the killing of the US envoy to Libya and three others by “a small and savage group” should “shock” people of all faiths around the world.
Paying tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens and his American co-workers killed when militants attacked the US mission in Benghazi, Clinton vowed the United States would not turn its back on Libya as it builds a new future.
“This is an attack that should shock conscience of people of all faiths around the world,” she said in a somber statement at the State Department.
FG places military, Police on alert
Vanguard gathered that the Presidency which was still facing the embarrassment of spate of suicide bombings by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, would not want to be caught unawares.
Consequently, the government has directed the armed forces and the Police to take preventive and decisive measures to contain a possible domino-effect of the crisis which broke out on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States.
Vanguard learnt that the Nigeria Police have taken proactive security measures to ensure that no similar violence was replicated within the country. A statement signed by Force Spokesman, CSP Frank Mba, noted that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has placed all Police Formations across the Federation on red alert.
According to Mba, “the IGP has directed all Zonal AIGs and Command Commissioners of Police to ensure a 24-hour water-tight security in and around all Embassies and Foreign Missions in Nigeria as well as other vulnerable targets.
“In addition, the AIG in charge of Intelligence and Commissioners of Police in charge of the various Police Special Squads such as the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Special Protection Unit (SPU) have been directed to ensure that their personnel are strategically deployed to prevent and nib all potential crisis in the bud.
On the part of the military, Vanguard learnt that General Officers Commanding the Divisions and Corps Commanders in the Country and their equivalent in other services were yesterday directed to work with other security agencies to ensure that there was no out break of violence.
For the Army, Quick Response military outfits, Counter terrorism and Special forces were to be deployed for patrols while places of worship and religious leaders were to be monitored to ensure they don’t instigate their followers into violence. The Navy and Air Force were to follow suit.