US embassy in Kenya conducts terror drill

April 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The US Embassy and Kenyan security agencies are to conduct a drill on Friday afternoon against a probable terrorist attack.

The drill will simulate what a real terrorist attack may look like. That means there will be lots of “smoke grenades, numerous simulated explosions and blank gunfire” to create the effects of a terrorist attack.  

A statement from the US Embassy in Nairobi said the drill will include the GSU/Crisis Response Team, Diplomatic Police Unit, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and Gigiri police.

“The media are advised that on the afternoon of Friday, April 9, 2010 the U.S. Embassy in conjunction with Government of Kenya (GoK) security personnel will hold a drill to practice for a response to a terrorist attack.,” the statement read.

Other special units involved in the exercise include the CID-Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, the Kenyan National Disaster Operations Centre, and ambulance units from local hospitals.

During the drill, surrounding streets, including UN Avenue and Gigiri, will be closed.  “During the drill, smoke grenades will be used, and there will be numerous simulated explosions and blank gunfire to create the effects of a terrorist attack.  Surrounding streets, including UN Avenue and Gigiri, will be closed for the duration of the drill.  While this is an excellent training opportunity for Embassy and GoK personnel, it could be misinterpreted by the public as a real event.  We are alerting the media to ensure that you are aware that this is just a drill and not an actual event,” the statement added.

The US and Kenya have strengthened their cooperation when it comes to fighting terrorism since a 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi.

About two years ago there were heightened security operations aimed at capturing the mastermind of the 1998 bombing Fazul Abdullah Mohammed.  He escaped a police dragnet barely five days before Kenya marked the 10th anniversary of the bombing.

About 213 people died nearly 12 years ago, and since then the two countries have been sharing intelligence to ensure such attacks are not repeated.

And while this year’s August 7th memorial is bound to see bomblast victims again asking for compensation, the US Embassy says: “The US Congress has not passed legislation to authorise special compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings, to date, no victim, no American, Kenyan or Tanzanian citizen has received any special compensation.”


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