Quick Brief, 23 September 2021: Kidnap and ransom gang attacks 3-star hotel outside of Abuja, Nigeria

23 September, 2021 Hotel Attacks

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)

Chain of events

  1. Nigeria’s The Street Journal and Daily Trust report that, at 11:00 pm on 21 September 2021, a criminal gang of 15 raided the 3-star Hilltop International Premium Hotel in Tunga-Maje, about five miles due west of Abuja, the nation’s capital.
  2. A criminal gang, possibly the same one, previously raided the same hotel in June 2021 to abduct people for a kidnap and ransom (K&R) scheme.
  3. In that raid, the attackers kidnapped nine people, including guests, staff, the hotel’s owner, and one Mr. Friday Makama, a former member of the Kogi State House of Assembly, reports Vanguard.
  4. Just prior to the attack, the hotel had closed for the evening and locked all its doors, but the raiders shot through the hotel’s locks and quickly gained entry.
  5. Because of the past K&R raid, a few police were stationed at the hotel, and they engaged the attackers in a gun battle.
  6. During the firefight, a police sergeant was killed, and a guest who was in their room was hit by a stray bullet.
  7. Thereafter, the attackers went room to room, flogging guests and staff.
  8. Reporting that cites eyewitnesses says the attackers kidnapped one hotel guest and injured three others.


First, tactically, the raid was successful. The attacking gang brought enough manpower and firepower to breach the hotel, neutralize the police, and gain positive control over the hotel’s guests and staff. And, by all likely accounts, they managed to secure a kidnap victim.

As a tactical aside, Muir Analytics has seen multiple cases of terrorists using AK-47s to shoot through thick hotel doors and locks such as the 20 January 2018 Taliban takeover of the Intercontinental Hotel just outside Kabul that killed 40 and injured 14.

Second, if the attackers did secure a prisoner, then they at least partially succeeded in their strategic end goal of taking a hostage for financial gain.

Third, Nigeria has experienced copious and high order hotel violence, and in recent years it’s been chiefly by criminal gangs operating in states south of Abuja and toward the coast. Police in some southern states have cracked down hard on these gangs, and in some cases, anti-police movements have developed to curb their activities.

Fourth, the fact that this hotel was not better secured, especially after being previously attacked, indicates the hotel owners and security forces either did not effectively process threat intelligence on the hotel, or they did, and key decision-makers decided to ignore such intelligence and station a mere token protection force there.

Fifth, Nigeria’s gangland-style hotel violence is illustrative of the country’s many patches of high criminal activity – like certain high crime/high casualty rate neighborhoods in Chicago – which should serve as a stark, cautionary warning for international business travelers in the region. It should be noted that terrorist activity by Boko Haram in parts of Nigeria (from Abuja to the north of the country, plus in neighboring border areas) have also been high, and this group also has a penchant for hotel attacks.

Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal. Armed with this powerful intelligence, Muir can aid the hospitality sector with full-spectrum risk reduction advising and help hotels protect staff, guests, hotel buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation: 1-833-DATA-444.

Sources and further reading:

Gunmen attack FCT hotel, kill policeman, injure others,” The Street Journal, 23 September 2021.

Policeman Killed as Gunmen Attack Abuja Hotel,” Daily Trust, 23 September 2021.

Gunmen kill Police officer in foiled hotel attack in Abuja,” Vanguard, 23 September 2021.

Copyright © Muir Analytics 2021