NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 25 – Police announced on Tuesday they will remain on a high alert throughout the Christmas festivities to curb terrorism threats and other criminal incidents across the country.
A statement from Police headquarters said adequate police deployments had been made at strategic areas known to be key terrorist targets, and urged members of the public to cooperate.
“To ensure that criminal elements do not interfere with our festivities, we wish to remind the general public it is necessary to remain alert,” the statement issued by Deputy Commissioner of Police Francis Okonya said.
He said the war against terrorism can only be won through the support of all Kenyans.
“Terrorism has been a security threat for most of this year, whereas the government has put in place extensive measures to guarantee security, we would like to advice the public to continue with vigilance during this season,” Okonya said.
Those planning to participate in night vigils and other gatherings associated with the Christmas festivities were also urged to remain alert at all times.
“Churches and other groups wishing to hold overnight vigil to mark the birth of Jesus Christ and the New Year are strongly advised to liaise with the local police formations for security arrangements,” the police statement issued on Christmas eve advised.
The public has also been urged to be wary of unattended luggage.
“The public should clearly ascertain the contents and identify the owner of luggage left with them or in any premises for which they are responsible,” Okonya warned, adding “If you are not certain of the nature of the luggage or the identity of the owner call the police immediately. Generally unattended luggage should not be encouraged in public premises.”
Kenya has experienced an upsurge of terrorism activities particularly in the capital Nairobi, Mombasa and border towns of Garissa and Mandera where security forces and civilians have become main targets.
In Nairobi, Eastleigh neighbourhood which is dominated by Somali immigrants has reported an increased number of grenade attacks which has left at least twenty people dead and many more injured—including local Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan who is recuperating in South Africa from injuries sustained at a blast outside a mosque three weeks ago.
Drivers were also urged to strictly adhere to the traffic regulations to curb road accidents—particularly during this festive season when most people are traveling to various destinations for holiday.
Kenya is implementing tough traffic regulations enhanced recently with stiffer penalties targeting both private and public vehicle operators.
The east African nation has one of the worst road safety records in the world, with at least 2000 people killed in accidents annually.
“The public should be particularly keen to avoid vehicles which are overloaded, carry standing passengers, are driven beyond the regulated speed limits or which from the observation of an ordinary person are faulty and unroadworthy,” the statement warned.