What it takes to protect Pope Francis in Kenya

November 23, 2015 2:05 pm
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Millions of Kenyans are expected to attend the Mass at the University of Nairobi grounds, his visit in the informal sectors of Kangemi and Kasarani Stadium/MIKE KARIUKI
Millions of Kenyans are expected to attend the Mass at the University of Nairobi grounds, his visit in the informal sectors of Kangemi and Kasarani Stadium/MIKE KARIUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – The visit by Pope Francis to the United States almost brought everything to a standstill in the first world city of Washington DC.

It was not business as usual as the Secret Service and other security agencies ensured the man of God, who loves interacting with people, safely executed his duties.

“Pope’s visit will produce largest security operation in the US, Pope Francis in the US; Visit triggers “largest security operation”, Multi layered security in place for Pope Francis,” were some of the headlines in the US leading publications.

The Pope’s visit in Kenya kicks off on Wednesday and just like in the US, Kenyan security agencies will have to come up with major security measures to ensure the Pope and the people attending all the venues he will be visiting are safe.

Millions of Kenyans are expected to attend the Mass at the University of Nairobi grounds, his visit in the informal sectors of Kangemi and Kasarani Stadium.

Kenyan authorities have since announced that over 10,000 police officers and 10,000 National Youth Service’s personnel will be mobilized for the event.

“We need strategic security teams and snipers to be on standby … undercover officers must be sandwiched between the crowds,” a security expert who sought anonymity told Capital FM News.

Some of the measures already announced include major traffic changes that will lock out motorists from accessing the Central Business District.

According to a senior police officer, who is not allowed to address journalists, the Pope’s security largely focuses on five things; Crowd control, communication (Intelligence gathering), early detection of security threats, closure of roads and streets and surveillance both on land and air.

As it has been announced by the police, it means roads will be closed and temporary barriers erected around the city.

“This might be similar to President (Barrack) Obama’s event…but every event is handled differently,” he said.

READ: Police release traffic, security measures for Pope’s visit

In such events where people from all walks of life are expected to attend: “Physical screening of people attending the mass and other events is also crucial.”

On Thursday, up to 60 Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from the Eastern Africa region are expected to attend the High Mass, additionally; there will be 9,000 priests, clergy and religious leaders at the Mass.

Twelve choirs from different parts of the country have been practicing for High Mass and will come together to form Muungano Choir.

All the Holy Fathers events in Kenya will be followed live in 140 countries and 5,000 Television stations worldwide. They will be complemented by more than 10,000 radio stations.

Up to one billion people from across the globe will be watching and following the events in those three most Holy of days for Catholic faithful.

On Monday, security officers, Government and Catholic officials were on the last minute preparations ahead of Wednesday’s Pope Francis visit to the country.

At the University of Nairobi grounds, workers were finalizing the preparations of the venue of the mass where the Pope will address millions of Kenyans and the world.

The Papal altar at the University grounds has also been condoned off from the public and will now be manned 24 hours till the day of the Mass.

Senior police officers led by Kilimani OCPD Peter Katam visited the venue early Monday.

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