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Tourists fault 'forced' evacuation from Kenya

17 May 2014, 09:46

Nairobi - Western nations have been mis-advised on the ongoing evacuations along Kenya's coast, tourists, experts and police believe.

More British tourists were on Friday evacuated from the Coastal city of Mombasa after London issued a travel advisory warning its nationals to stay away from the coastal resorts.

Four buses and a van carrying 256 tourists were escorted by police officers to the Moi International Airport to catch flight back to Britain.

The tourist boarded Thomson airline on Friday 3: 00 p.m. to London after they were warned of possible terrorist attacks in the coastal city.

Moi International Airport MD Yatich Kagungo said some 336 tourists who were on holiday in the north coast and island were repatriated on Thursday night.

Yatich said two Thomson planes were at the airport in Mombasa waiting to evacuate more tourists on Friday. He announced indefinite suspension of operation of tour guide company Tui Travel-owned companies until October.

"We are addressing the issues which have made them to pullout. We have two flights that have departed from the airport with over 500 tourists," Kagungo said.

A statement posted by Thompson Tours website indicated that it has cancelled all flights to Mombasa until Oct. 31.

Thomson and First Choice Resort Team Manager Racheal Day said they were directed to repatriate 447 British nationals in Mombasa city.

Racheal said they were working from the advice from British foreign office to ensure evacuation of all British tourists who had visited in the coastal city.

"We working on instruction to ensure safe evacuation of British nationals living on exclusion zones on Mombasa Island, 5 kilometers to the south and North," Racheal said.

The latest British advisory issued on Wednesday extended to areas located five kilometers of the Coast from Mtwapa creek in the North of Mombasa, and Tiwi in South Coast, but did not include Diani or Moi international airport.

However, most of the tourists expressed disappointment over the forceful evacuation.

Speaking to Xinhua at Moi international airport some tourists said their government might have been misadvised on the advisory warning.

"We are saddened over the decision to force us to go back. We don't think Kenya is unsafe as its being portrayed by our state," said Dava Moors.

Moors said they had arrived in the country on Tuesday for two weeks vacation with his family before the trip was cut short.

Stefan Arraw who resides in Peterborough the British government "panicked" to evacuate its citizens.

"Terrorism is global threat and no part of the country is safe. Both nations should be brother's keeper instead. The decision will likely to have impact on the tourism sector," Arraw said.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa urged the local and foreign nationals to ignore the advisory.

"We have set up robust security measures to deal with terrorism threats in the county by intensifying patrols at key installations, " Marwa said.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast branch Executive Officer Sam Ikwaye said the latest ban will greatly affect the industry.

Ikwaye said hotels in coastal region are experiencing 30 percent of hotel bookings due to the drop of tourist arrivals. He said the warning will likely to lead to massive cancellation of tourists.

- Xinhua

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