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US diplomatic stance raises fears of further attacks

20 June 2014, 18:19

Nairobi - The United States said it would move some of its diplomats out of Kenya and has banned all embassy staff from travelling to its Indian Ocean coastline, where about 65 people were killed in attacks on Sunday and Monday.

Islamist militants from neighbouring Somalia claimed responsibility for the indiscriminate shootings and execution-style killings but Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said they were instead the work of his domestic political rivals.

Kenya has seen a spate of gun attacks and bombings by Somali al Shabaab militants who want it to pull its troops out of Somalia.

"Due to the terrorist attack on June 15 ... the U.S. Embassy instituted restrictions on U.S. government personnel travel to all coastal counties," the U.S. State Department said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

It said the U.S. government continued to receive information about potential attacks on U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in east Africa's biggest economy, including the capital Nairobi and coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani.

"Based on the recent changes in Kenya's security situation, the Embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries," it said.

Britain, France and Australia last month issued warnings to their citizens against travelling to parts of Kenya's coastline. President Kenyatta earlier this year said the tourism industry was "on its knees" due to Islamist attacks.

Kenya called the alerts "unfriendly", saying they would increase panic and play into the hands of those behind the violence.

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- Reuters


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