NAIROBI, November 16 – The US government has heightened its travel advisory for Kenya, citing security concerns in North Eastern province.
An alert from the US State Department, dated November 14, and posted on the Nairobi Embassy’s website, says there is a continuing threat from terrorism and a high rate of violent crime.
“The U.S. Government continues to receive indications of potential terrorist threats aimed at American, Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya. Terrorist acts could include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports,” it reads in part.
It warns of possible terrorist attacks in Kenya, saying that those responsible for past attacks in Nairobi and Kikambala are still active in the region. “This replaces the Travel Warning of August 22, 2008, to note increased security concerns in northeast Kenya near the Somali border.”
The statement also cites the recent kidnapping of two Italian nuns from El Wak, by armed Somali militia.
“Travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to border areas of Kenya northeast of the town of Wajir has been restricted until further notice,” reads the statement.
As regards violent crime, the US State department is warning Americans against traveling to Kenya saying IDPs, endemic poverty and availability of weapons could result in an increase in petty and violent crime.
“Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings and home invasions/burglaries, can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. As recently as June 2008, U.S. Embassy personnel were victims of carjackings.”
The statement further says Kenya has a limited capacity to investigate and prosecute robbery suspects.
American citizens in Kenya should be extremely vigilant, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship, the statement warns.
“Americans should also remain alert in residential areas, schools, and at outdoor recreational events, and should avoid demonstrations and large crowds.”