Barely a month after the US Embassy in Nairobi ordered its diplomatic staff to pack and leave the Coastal region following a claim that a major terror was to happen there, it has now issued yet another travel advisory to its citizens, warning them to be cautious when in Kenya due to heightened terror threats.
This time round, the advisory is not specific of any particular town in the country, instead warning Americans considering traveling to Kenya to beware of the risks involved.
The alert sent to Americans directly urges them to evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorists and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.
“The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya.Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports,” the alert sent to citizens enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) states.
As a result, it said, the U.S. Embassy based in Gigiri, Nairobi has limited official U.S. government travel to Kenya until the security situation improves and will continue to monitor the security situation and provide necessary updates where possible.
“Although these restrictions do not apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. government, U.S. citizens already in Kenya should take these restrictions into account when planning travel,” it said, adding “The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification.”
A week ago, outgoing US Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration lifted an earlier one imposed on Mombasa and which was largely criticized by the Kenyan government who insisted that the region was a safe haven for both visitors and residents.
In this latest advisory, the US embassy makes reference to a number of recent terror attacks including the twin church blasts in the Northern Kenyan town of Garissa where 17 people were killed a week ago and the kidnapping of four foreign aid workers at IFO 2 Dadaab refugee camp.
“Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region,” it said and warned travelers “to consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.”
The US embassy here seeks to remind its citizens of at least 17 attacks involving grenades or explosive devices which have occurred in Kenya in the past year since the Kenya Defence Forces crossed into Southern Somalia to weed out the terror group of Al-Shabaab that has continued to pose insecurity across the region, in which at least 48 people died. Some 200 others or more were wounded.
Nine of these attacks occurred in North Eastern Province, including locations in Dadaab, Wajir, and Garissa while four occurred in Nairobi, and four in Mombasa.
Targets included police stations and police vehicles, nightclubs and bars, churches, a religious gathering, a downtown building of small shops, and a bus station, the alert states.
“U.S. citizens should use common-sense precautions, such as avoiding crowded bus stops or stations, visiting only legitimate businesses and tourist areas during daylight hours, using well-marked taxis, locking vehicle and lodging doors, carrying small amounts of cash and credit cards, wearing small amounts of jewelry, knowing emergency phone numbers, and being aware of your surroundings. These measures can help ensure your travel to Kenya is safe and enjoyable,” it said.
The Kenyan government should not dismiss such terror alerts but tighten its security personnel and seal the loopholes where necessary.
Reliable sources at the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit has pointed an accusing finger to hundreds of Kenyan youth, mainly from the Coast, who flocked to Somalia to show up the militant
group when the tide started turning against it two years ago.
As things stand out as per now, more security personnel should be sent to man the country’s boarders in an effort to strengthen and stabilize security to avoid being rocked with other terrorist attacks.
Such alerts keep tourists away from our country thus injuring foreign exchange that is a major boost to the national economy.