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Police on high alert after nine terror suspects enter Kenya
Friday, May 04, 2012
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Lamu police are on high alert following the entry of nine suspected Al Shabaab terrorists from Somalia on Wednesday.
The aliens are suspected to include foreign fighters, who entered Kenya from Burgavo and other small towns in Somalia’s Lower Juba region, and have been forced out by Kenya’s military offensive in the these parts, and the disintegration of Al Shabaab.
The police alert is bad news for the fledgling tourism industry, which was battered last year following the abduction and murder of British and French tourists in Manda, and Kiwayu islets, a few kilometers by sea from the area where the militants are believed to be hiding.
"We have no doubt that the group has links with the Al Shabaab," said Lamu East OCPD, Samuel Obara, who is co-ordinating the operation against the militants. He was speaking on telephone from Lamu, on Thursday.
But the Government has responded robustly with heavy deployment of forces in Lamu, other islets, and international border seeking to prevent a fresh assault on the tourism sector.
This comes less than a week after the UK and US lifted advisories against essential travel to Lamu and local slums. In Mombasa, Administration Police officers demolished structures around Tononoka Grounds after terrorists detonated simultaneous bombs last month in Mtwapa, killing two worshippers.
The reports emerged as the British Government announced it was reviewing the travel advisory it issued last year. During the life of the advisory, including a separate one issued by the US, the Lamu archipelago lost about 50 per cent of its foreign tourists and revenues, conservative estimates show.
The US has since, also, reviewed its separate advisory against essential travel to Kenya, but most tourists on the Kenyan coast are from western Europe. Some investors, however, feel the words used in the review by the British do not go far enough to reassure foreigners about their safety in Lamu and other cities. They are also calling on the Government to improve security and infrastructure.
Coast Provincial Police Officer Aggrey Adoli told The Standard on Thursday that police have maintained air, land, and sea patrols in hotspots following last year’s events.
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