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UK travel advisory after grenade attacks

12 June 2013, 14:09

Nairobi - The recent incidents of insecurity and grenade attacks in Kenya has prompted Britain to issue fresh travel advise to nationals visiting the country.

British Foreign Office issued the warning in its Tuesday updated travel advisory for holidaymakers to Kenya following a grenade attack in the coastal city of Mombasa and Nairobi on Sunday, which injured at least 20 people.

"There is a high threat from terrorism. The main threat is from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia opposed to the Somali government. Al Shabaab has issued public threats against Kenya because of its military intervention in Somalia," according to the British Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office said terrorist attacks may target official buildings like government offices and law enforcement personnel or facilities, but could also be indiscriminate.

"Attacks may occur in places frequented by foreigners like hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, supermarkets, buses, shopping centres and beaches. Attacks have previously targeted places of worship including churches and mosques. Be particularly vigilant in these areas," the warning said.

The authorities have increased security to counter potential reprisal attacks which resulted in the killing of suspected terrorist believed to be behind Sunday's attack in Nairobi's Eastleigh residential estate which left four people injured.

Regional police commander, Benson Kibui said the suspected terrorist who had no identification cards had travelled all the way from Mandera in northern Kenya for a sole mission to commit the crime.

"Initial investigations have revealed that he booked the bus from Mandera on June 4 and travelled between June 5 and 6 for one mission of causing terror on June 9. We were only lucky that only four people escaped with slight injuries otherwise the number of casualties would have been higher," Kibui said.

The police commander said the grenade was used in the attack which has caused panic among Nairobi residents that the Al-Shabaab sympathizers were regrouping.

In its advisory, the British government advised nationals against all but essential travel to parts of Kenya and, at the moment, is warning British tourists to avoid areas within 60 kms of Kenya's border with Somalia.

London specifically advises visitors to avoid the remote resort of Kiwayu, where British tourist David Tebbutt was shot dead by Somali pirates who kidnapped his wife Judith in 2011, as well as the coastal areas north of Pate Island.

They are also advised to steer clear of low-income areas of the capital Nairobi, including all townships and slum areas where attacks or violence are frequent.

It also noted that a number of kidnaps have occurred in Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya which mainly hosts more than 500, 000 Somali refugees.

The advisory comes as the Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Tuesday said dramatic rise in the number of homicides has driven reduction in world peace over the last year with Kenya ranking at 136th out of 162.

The report said Kenya's significant decline in its level of peace was driven by an increase in its homicide rate, terrorism and military expenditure coupled with deteriorating relations with neighbouring countries. 



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