NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Security was tightened in Nairobi following the visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who arrived in the Kenyan capital on Saturday morning.
The US Secretary of State flew in from Uganda, where she met President Yoweri Museveni. She arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 8.20am with a fleet of up to 20 staff.
As usual, the US top diplomat, one of the world’s most powerful women was surrounded by heavy security.
Clinton who was dressed in an ivory jacket with black detail was welcomed at the JKIA by outgoing US ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration and Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri.
Upon alighting from the plane, Clinton briefly waved and was immediately whisked away in a white Land Cruiser which was a part of a motorcade of 24 vehicles. They included two mini-buses which transported staff and another bus for American press travelling with Clinton.
The four matching Land Cruisers were lined up at the airport 45 minutes before her plane taxied at the JKIA pavilion.
Roads were blocked and the convoy was given a green-light escort from the airport to the Central Business District, where the delegation sped past to State House, Nairobi where Clinton held talks with President Mwai Kibaki.
There were also high security teams including General Service Unit officers and KK private guards who also formed part of the motorcade.
Clinton later held talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
The US top diplomat also held talks with Somali Transition Government officials and top officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at the InterContinental Hotel.
Reports said that police and advanced parties from the US were deployed for the hotel security.
The hotel management also deployed bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect vehicles that arrived at the premises
Security personnel early Saturday placed several roads near the hotel off-limits to traffic.
Clinton who leaves Kenya on Sunday morning is not expected to address the media.
Earlier, journalists went through thorough screening before Clinton landed at JKIA and were directed to work from an open truck for security purposes. They were required to be at the airport at 8am to go through the security details before the arrival of Clinton at 10.20am.
“Put your cameras, all of them down, then move here, all of you, leave them there and come here,” a security guard told journalists anxiously waiting for her arrival.
After moving, a sniffer dog and a security guard screened the cameras before the journalists were allowed to pick them as they climbed up on the truck. They were asked to remain on the truck until the last car in Clinton’s motorcade was out of JKIA.
Clinton arrived in Kenya a few hours after one person was killed and several others injured after a grenade exploded in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.
The security was however a pale shadow compared to US President Barack Obama’s who travels with the Beast – an armoured limousine which can be turned into a sealed panic room and is capable of resisting bullets, chemical attacks and even a missile strike – will form part of the presidential convoy.
The Sh23 million Cadillac also has run-flat tyres, a tear gas cannon, night-vision camera and oxygen tanks.