Closure of UK Mombasa consulate linked to Sheikh Idris murder
13 June 2014, 18:29
Nairobi - The United Kingdom UK has closed its Mombasa consulate over growing security fears and apparent impending terror threats.
The move announced Friday by the UK foreign office will raise fears of an impending terror attack in the Coastal city.
" Following the changes made to our travel advice on Wednesday 14 May the decision has been made to close our Honorary Consulate office in Mombasa, a statement to media houses read.
It is understood that the move comes in the wake of the murder of Sheik Mohamed Idris, the chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, who was shot as he left his home for a mosque Tuesday.
A police source in Mombasa told News24 that the move was linked to apparent retaliatory attacks over the Sheikh's death and a growing sense of unease in the Coastal city.
" Tension has grown in Mombasa since Sheikh Idriss' death and there is likely-hood of either retaliatory attacks over his death or increased radical activity, the police source said.
The move will further dent the struggling tourism industry at the Coast which has been decimated by terror attacks and travel advisories by Western nations.
The US, UK, France and Australia have all issued warnings to their citizens to avoid non essential travel to the Coast.
But local residents feel that the moves are over-emphasized.
" The warnings are too much considering that the terror incidents are usually isolated, Mohammed Omar, a tour consultant in Mombasa said.
" Business is bad but we still get a few tourists who feel that there is nothing wrong here and choose to dis-regard the warnings, he added.
The UK though, feels that the warnings are only to ensure safety of not just UK citizens but Kenyan citizens too.
" The warnings are purely to sensitize to the locals and not just UK citizens that there is the likely-hood of an attack. Nothing is done without thorough investigation, an official at the Nairobi consulate that did not want to be named said.
" When you see a travel warning there is intelligence, not just a hunch but solid intelligence, the source added.
Close to 300,000 UK citizens visit Kenya yearly, both on tourist and business activities.
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