U. S. warns citizens in Kenya over terror threats
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
NAIROBI, Jan. 16 — The U.S. government has issued a new travel advisory to all Americans wishing to travel to Kenya and those living in the country to exercise caution due to increased terror threats and violent crime in most parts of the East African nation.
In the advisory received on Wednesday, Washington urged Americans to 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 Embassy will continue to monitor the security situation and provide updates,” the U.S. said in its latest warning to citizens living and those considering travelling to the east African nation.
Last year, Washington warned its citizens of an impending terrorism attack in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa and ordered Americans to vacate Mombasa as it also suspended all U.S. government travel to the port city until July 1, over terrorism fears.
A blast occurred in the coastal town on June 24, a day after the warning in Mombasa when terrorists threw grenades into at a bar in Mombasa, where patrons were gathered to watch the European championship soccer match between England and Italy, killing at least three people and left 25 others injured.
“Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports,” the advisory said.
“Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region,” it said.
Kenya initiated military action against Al-Shabaab by crossing into Somalia on Oct. 16, 2011, and, on June 2, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby it formally joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Kenyan troops within AMISOM are now actively pursuing Al- Shabaab in southeastern Somalia. In response to the Kenyan intervention, Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers have conducted retaliatory attacks against civilian and government targets in Kenya.
In the past year, there have been more than 30 attacks involving grenades or explosive devices in Kenya. At least 76 people died in these attacks, and around 220 people were injured.
“There were no U.S. citizens among the casualties. Ten of these attacks occurred in North Eastern Province, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, and Garissa. Four attacks occurred in Mombasa,” Washington said.
It noted that six grenade and improvised explosive device attacks occurred in Nairobi, illustrating an increase in the number of attacks and an advance in the sophistication of attacks.