Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 22, 2016 - 5:00 pm

Nunavut schools close due to territory-wide bomb threats

School threats later followed with bomb threat at Iqaluit airport

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
RCMP cruisers are seen parked outside of Nakasuk school in Iqaluit Sept. 22, after the territory's schools were evacuated due to wide-spread bomb threats. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
RCMP cruisers are seen parked outside of Nakasuk school in Iqaluit Sept. 22, after the territory's schools were evacuated due to wide-spread bomb threats. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

(Updated at 5:55 p.m.)

Nunavut police say bomb threats sent to the RCMP early Sept. 22 are not credible.

The territorial government closed all of Nunavut’s schools early Sept. 22, following a wide-spread bomb threat sent to police the same morning.

Nunavut RCMP said they received a threat at 9:00 a.m., Sept. 22, that bombs had been placed in schools in all three regions of the territory.

“Nunavut RCMP has completed a comprehensive threat assessment and are confident the threat to Nunavut schools was not credible,” the RCMP said in a second noon-hour release.

“All elementary schools, high schools and colleges have been physically checked by Nunavut RCMP officers and school staff and no suspicious signs were found.”

Later in the day, the territorial government said that Iqaluit’s airport was mentioned in a bomb threat, leading police to sweep through flights on the tarmac.

Sources told Nunatsiaq News those threats were directed at an Ottawa-Iqaluit flight, but the GN said the threat was determined to be unfounded.

A late-day news release from the RCMP said they were called to the airport around 11:30 a.m. for a possible threat but they deemed it “non-credible.”

The news release also expressed dismay that such false complaints, “can impact the ability for police to respond to other public safety requirements.”

Later in the day Sept. 22, the RCMP confirmed the airport “threat” was non-credible.

It’s not clear, however, if threats against both the territory’s school and Iqaluit airport were made at the same time.

The RCMP said the evacuation of the territory’s schools went smoothly. Schools began to re-open after the lunch hour.

“School principals and local DEAs are working to decide when to reopen their schools,” said the Government of Nunavut in a tweet, promising to provide updates through the day.

Nunavut’s V Division Major Crimes Unit is now working with other agencies across the country to track down the individual(s) responsible for the false reports.

The threats sent to the force are similar to those received in other parts of Canada and the United States earlier this week, all of which proved to be hoaxes.

But territorial officials said they must prioritize the safety of students and staff.

As a precaution, police also checked in at all Nunavut Arctic College’s community learning centres and campuses, the GN said.

Earlier this week, the RCMP in Ottawa received a faxed threat claiming bombs has been placed in schools throughout Prince Edward Island, prompting the evacuation of all the province’s schools.

Police in Nova Scotia and Winnipeg received similar threats Sept. 20. In each case, the threats were unfounded.

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