NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – Former President Mwai Kibaki led those who welcomed the decision by the United Kingdom to revise its advisory against all but essential travel to Mombasa and Kilifi.
Kibaki said the advisory had significantly affected Kenya’s tourism sector given Britain has traditionally been one of Kenya’s biggest source markets.
Kenya and Britain, he said, shared a long history, “lest it is forgotten, her majesty, in essence, ascended to the throne while on a visit, deep in the heartland of Kenya,” and should therefore stick together and face down extremism.
Britain’s High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner said that if proven that British citizen Thomas Evans was among extremists killed in an attack on a Kenyan army base in Lamu, it would further make the point that terrorism required a united approach.
He did however defend the issuance of the advisory against travel to Mombasa in the first place, saying it wasn’t personal but informed by security concerns.
“We have an obligation to advise our nationals of security all over the world, and in the last 12 months have issued advisories against France, Egypt and India,” Turner defended.
He also made the point that for the revision to the advisory against travel to the coastal city to remain in place, so would the security status.
“What we need to address are the causes not symptoms,” he said of the advisory’s impact on Kenya’s tourism sector.
Kibaki wasn’t the only one to welcome the revision of the advisory with players in the tourism sector adding their voices.
Britain however maintains its advisory against all but essential travel to Eastleigh, the wider northern region and Lamu following a series of terror attacks in those regions.
On its travel advisory page it cites the killing of 148 at the Garissa University College, the Mpeketoni attacks, the ambush killing of 28 who were aboard a Mandera bus bound for Nairobi and 36, again, at quarry in Mandera.
The areas, they argue, still remain volatile given the most recent attack on a military base in Lamu and the targeted attacks on police stations and security agents in the North.
Following the most recent travel advisory against travel to the Kenyan coast, the Kenyan government, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, accused Britain of failing to stand in solidarity with Kenya in the face of a global crisis.