Govt re-assures that public airports are safe

March 4, 2016 8:30 am
Interior Cabinet Secretary  Major-General (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery said security had been heightened. Photo/FILE
Interior Cabinet Secretary Major-General (rtd) Joseph Nkaissery said security had been heightened. Photo/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – The government has re-assured both local and international travelers that Kenya’s airports are safe after an internal memo warning of an impending terror attack was circulated.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala say adequate security and surveillance have been deployed to safeguard the airports across the country.

“Following the emergence of an internal Kenya Airports Authority memo concerning heightened security across Kenyan airports, the Government wishes to reassure all travelers and visitors that domestic an international air travel is safe,” they stated in a joint statement.

They indicated that the country’s security services were working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the citizens and visitors safe wherever they are and however they travel and that “action is taken immediately to interdict, prevent and deter any identified threats.”

The CSs explained that security at airports is taken seriously and is being constantly reviewed.

“We review security across our airports constantly and we can reassure local and international travelers that their safety is paramount. It is for this reason that the Government and the KAA have put in place heightened security measures and there is no need for public alarm.”

Kenya has been on a high terror alert following the threats posed by Al Shabaab who have vowed revenge attacks over the continued stay of Kenya’s military in Somalia.

“Kenya has faced difficult challenges in recent years, but with the support of our international partners, we have taken control of the security situation quickly, efficiently and effectively,” the two CSs pointed out.

The internal memo sent to all Airport Managers across the country warns that suicide bombers have been undergoing airborne suicide missions in Somalia for the mission.

Read: Terrorists targeting Kenya airports: police

The memo dated February 26 was signed by the Kenya Airports Authority Security Manager Eric Kiraithe who indicated that the attackers are likely to target domestic flights.

It specifically identifies Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport in Mombasa as main targets with focus on domestic flights.

The warning came barely three weeks after a bomb attack on a Daallo Airlines passenger plane shortly after take-off from Somalia’s main airport, killing one person.

The blast punched a one-metre (three-foot) hole in the side of the Airbus A321 about 15 minutes after it had taken off from Mogadishu heading for Djibouti.

A passenger identified as Abdulahi Abdisalam was killed, probably after being propelled out of the aircraft in the explosion, investigators said.

Another two out of around 60 passengers on board were slightly injured.

The pilot, a 64-year-old Serb named Vladimir Vodopivec, told a friend that he was convinced the blast had been caused by a bomb, according to the Serbian daily Blic.

The explosion did not damage the plane’s navigation system, and this is what enabled the pilot to make the emergency landing, the report said.