, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – The US Department of State has updated its travel advisory to Kenya and is relocating some of its staff to other countries due to heightened insecurity in the country.
The development followed an announcement by US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec in May that the embassy was reviewing its security measures, including staffing.
“This replaces the travel warning of May 17, 2014, to update information about embassy staffing and current travel recommendations,” the US Department of State stated on its website on Thursday.
It went on to add that the US embassy in Kenya had also restricted the travel of US government personnel to all coastal counties in light of the Mpeketoni killings.
“Due to the terrorist attack on June 15 in Mpeketoni, in Lamu County, the US Embassy instituted restrictions on US government personnel travel to all coastal counties – Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and the coastal portion only of Tana River County,” the statement reads.
The other restricted areas are Eastleigh and the Northeastern areas of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi.
“Although these restrictions do not apply to travellers not associated with the US government, US citizens in Kenya should take these restrictions into account when planning travel,” it continued to state.
The embassy has also restricted US government-sponsored regional conferences and trainings in Nairobi and is reviewing the numbers of personnel coming to the country for official purposes.
The US Department of State explained that its government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at Western and Kenyan interests in Nairobi and the coastal towns of Mombasa and Diani.
“Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings, grenade attacks, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. US citizens, including US embassy employees, have been victims of such crimes within the past year,” it stated.
It also alerted Americans of Somali ethnicity to the Operation Usalama Watch crackdowns and urged them to request to speak to someone from the consular office in the event they are detained.
“US citizens of Somali descent should be aware that they may encounter interruptions in their travel due to increased police scrutiny based on the encampment policy. It is very important to carry at all times proof of identity and legal status in Kenya (i.e., valid visa),” it advised.
The US Department of State put the death toll from terror attacks in the country in the last year and a half at over a hundred and classifies even the ‘fallen bulb’ at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s Java Coffee House as a terror attack.
“An attack also occurred on January 16 at a restaurant at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,” it stated.
The updated travel advisory comes at a time when the Kenyan government has called on the public to watch the World Cup matches from their homes and avoid congregating in public places.
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And as the British government reiterated its support to Kenya in the fight against terror.