NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – The United States of America has warned its citizens against travelling to Kenya after the September 21 terror attack.
In a statement, the US Department of State told Americans that Kenya was insecure due to threats by terrorists.
“US citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The levels of risk vary throughout the country,” it warned.
The US further warned that there will be more attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa targeted at US nationals, Kenyans and those from other Western countries.
“The US government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at US, Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including in the Nairobi area and in the coastal city of Mombasa,” the Department of State said.
According to the communication, the attacks could be in form of “suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation and maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports.”
It expressed fears that most of the terrorists involved in past attacks are still free and are likely to plan more attacks.
“Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region,” the US warned.
The department indicated that its advisory issued on July 5 in 2013 to US citizens, still stands that Kenya is insecure.
It noted that last Saturday’s attack was masterminded by the suspected Al Shabaab terrorist group and killed many people from different nationalities.
The US explained that the attacks by Al Shabaab are inspired by Kenya’s invasion in Somalia which was intended to fight the terror group.
According to the US, the group will continue fighting back in revenge.
“Kenya initiated military action against al-Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab by crossing into Somalia on October 16, 2011, and on June 2, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby it formally joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In response to the Kenyan intervention, Al Shabaab and its sympathizers have conducted retaliatory attacks against civilian and government targets in Kenya,” The US explained.
America is worried that the number of attacks on Kenya by Al Shabaab has increased since Kenya invaded Somalia in October, 2011.
“More than two dozen of these attacks occurred in North Eastern Province, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera. Four attacks occurred in Mombasa. Twelve grenade and improvised explosive device attacks have occurred in Nairobi, illustrating an increase in the number of attacks and an advance in the sophistication of attacks,” it explained.
Due to frequent attacks in various parts of the country especially North Eastern, the US warned its citizens not to travel to the North Eastern part of Kenya.
“US Embassy personnel are prohibited from travelling to the North Eastern Province, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi. US Embassy personnel are also restricted from travelling to the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwayu and north to Kiunga on the Kenya/Somalia border.”
The US however told its citizens that most tourist destinations are safe; “there are no restrictions on US embassy employee travel to Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo, Lamu Island, Hell’s Gate, Samburu, Mount Kenya, Malindi, and Nairobi.”
However they warned that other smaller crimes like robberies and carjacking can happen anywhere in the country.
The advisory came even as the Kenyan authorities pleaded with the international community not to issue travel advisories likely to hurt Kenyan’s tourist industry.
Last Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga appealed to the international community not to issue travel advisories following the Westgate mall attack saying terrorism is a global challenge affecting the entire world.
There have been indications that some of the attackers of the Westgate mall include British and American nationals.
However investigations are ongoing to confirm who took part in the attack that claimed 67 lives.