NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 1 – Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has sought to assure the world that Kenya is safe, after America issued a new travel advisory to its citizens.
Kibicho has told Capital FM News that Kenyans and anyone visiting, or intending to visit the country has no reason to worry due to adequate security measures put in place to secure the country.
“The country is very safe,” Kibicho said on telephone, “There is no cause to worry at all because adequate measures have been put in place to secure the country.”
In the latest travel advisory by the US State Department, Americans have been warned against visiting Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and parts of the Coast Province due to imminent attacks.
“In our assessment, it’s a mild statement which is done regularly not only about Kenya,” he said, “but we don’t expect it to come out at a time the security of the country has been restored.”
Kenya has not had major insecurity incidents since last year-other than pockets of grenade attacks and shootings near the border with Somalia where several people, including security forces.
The travel advisory – which replaces an earlier one sent out in November – comes at a time when Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has announced heightened security measures including at the major airports in the country following the attack in Istanbul, Turkey where 42 people were killed.
The US wants Americans to be cautious when visiting areas such as Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Malindi among others-seen as potential terror targets.
“In Mombasa, the US Embassy recommends US citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using Likoni ferry due to safety concerns,” the advisory dated June 30 states.
“To be safe, you should review your personal security plans, remain aware of your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events,” the advisory to Americans reads in part.
Kenya has faced insecurity challenges since deploying the military into Somalia to battle Al Shabaab terrorists after launching attacks and kidnappings-including of foreigners inside the country.
Considered East Africa’s long-time Al-Qaeda branch, Al Shabaab is headquartered in Somalia where it is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops, including Kenyan soldiers.
The Somali-led insurgents have staged repeated attacks in Kenya, including the killing of at least 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and the massacre of 148 people at a university in Garissa in April 2015.