FBI says no explosives found at historically Black colleges after bomb threats

Howard University (left) and the University of the District of Columbia (right), both in Washington DC, were among those targeted. PHOTOS: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The FBI said on Wednesday (Feb 2) it has not detected any explosive devices, after several historically Black colleges and universities across the United States reported receiving bomb threats earlier this week.

“Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats,” the FBI said.

It added that the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the ongoing investigation, and the threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.

The bomb threats on Monday led schools to cancel classes and issue shelter-in-place orders across the nation.

Among those receiving threats were Albany State University in Georgia, Delaware State University in Delaware, Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana, Howard University in Washington, DC, Bowie State University in Maryland and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.

On Tuesday, at least a dozen more historically Black colleges received similar bomb threats, all of which coincided with the first day of US Black History Month.

The FBI has previously said that domestic terrorism, including threats from white supremacists, is growing across America.

Last month, the Justice Department announced  it was forming a new unit to combat domestic terrorism threats.

Jill Sanborn, the FBI’s executive assistant director for the FBI’s National Security Branch, told lawmakers during a congressional hearing that “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists advocating for the superiority of the white race and anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists... present the most lethal threat.”

NBC News on Wednesday reported that the FBI has identified six “tech savvy” juveniles as persons of interest in connection with the bomb threats.

The FBI did not comment on the story, saying in its statement it could not provide details due to the ongoing investigation.

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