Canada investigates fatal embassy explosion in Nigeria, issues travel alert

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LAGOS (Reuters) -Canada is investigating an explosion at its embassy in Nigeria that killed two people, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Monday, as Ottawa joined Washington and London in issuing a warning against nonessential travel to the West African nation.

"We can confirm there was an explosion at our High Commission in Nigeria. The fire is out and we are working to shed light on what caused this situation," Joly said on X.

"I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the 2 people killed in this tragedy," she said.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu's spokesperson said that there were deaths and injuries in a fire on Monday at the High Commission of Canada but did not give any figures.

"President Tinubu prays for the repose of the departed souls and wishes all injured persons a rapid and full recovery," the statement said.

Canada's High Commission in Nigeria, without commenting on the explosion, said on social media that it had "temporarily suspended operations until further notice."

The embassy issued a travel advisory, warning against non-essential travel to Nigeria, including capital Abuja, "due to the unpredictable security situation throughout the country and the significant risk of terrorism, crime, inter-communal clashes, armed attacks and kidnappings."

Tinubu, preoccupied with fixing the economy, has yet to outline how he plans to tackle widespread insecurity across the country, including a long-running insurgency in the northeast and kidnappings for ransom in the northwest.

The United States and Britain had said on Friday there was an "elevated threat to major hotels in Nigeria's larger cities" and warned against travelling to Africa's most populous nation.

Western countries routinely issue warning about travelling to Nigeria, which the Abuja government often dismisses as lacking merit.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Lagos and Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler)