Terrorism: U.S. Relocates Embassy Staff from Kenya


no rx geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The Kenya government has previously condemned western countries’ ‘alarmism’, arguing terrorism remains a global threat and that such travel warnings hurt the East African country’s tourism revenues.

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“U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas,” reads a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on June 19.

“Due to the terrorist attack on June 15 in Mpeketoni, in Lamu County, it the U.S. Embassy instituted restrictions on U.S. government personnel travel to all coastal counties – Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and the coastal portion only of Tana River County.”

The U.S. government further revealed that based on the recent changes in Kenya’s security situation, the Embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries.

However, the Embassy will remain open for normal operations.

“The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including the Nairobi area and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani,” reads the travel warning.

“Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings – kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.”

In the past year and a half, there have been numerous attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices in Kenya in addition to the attacks.

In total, over 100 people have been killed in these attacks and hundreds have been injured.

Approximately 53 of these attacks occurred in north-eastern Kenya, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties.

Several attacks also occurred along the Kenyan coast. From June 15 through June 17, there were at least two terrorist attacks that occurred in Lamu County with death tolls estimated at over 50.

One of the terrorist attacks occurred in the town of Mpeketoni on June 15.

On May 3, two separate IEDs detonated in the Mombasa area. One occurred at the central stop of a local bus company in which four people were killed.


The Kenya Tourism Sector Foundation has since urged government to react to western countries’ travel warnings.

“The tourism sector is not only a source of much needed foreign exchange and tax revenues but also a large employer and a consumer of products and services from other sectors of the economy. Its’ trickle-down effect cannot be ignored,” reads part of their statement issued this week.

“A down turn in tourism will soon be felt in other productive sectors of the economy including Agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing, motor vehicle and many more.”

Kenyan law enforcement has disrupted several terrorist plots throughout the country. On March 17, 2014, police discovered a large and sophisticated car bomb in the Mombasa area, as reported in the local media. The intended target remains unclear.

Kenya initiated military action against al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab by crossing into Somalia on October 16, 2011, and on June 2, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby it formally joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Kenyan troops within AMISOM are now actively pursuing al-Shabaab in southeastern Somalia. In response to the Kenyan intervention, al-Shabaab and its sympathizers have conducted retaliatory attacks against civilian and government targets in Kenya.

On September 21, 2013, suspected members of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing scores of innocent people, both Kenyan and non-Kenyan nationals, and wounding many others. The siege at the mall continued for several days and five U.S. citizens were confirmed injured in the attack.

“As a result of these recent events and threats, the U.S. Embassy has restrictions on travel for U.S. government personnel to the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh and to all coastal counties – Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and the coastal portion only of Tana River County. Travel for all U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by appropriate Embassy offices. U.S. Embassy personnel are also prohibited from traveling to northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi. U.S. Embassy personnel are also restricted from traveling to the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwavu and north to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border,” said the U.S State Department.

“The Embassy has also instituted a policy of restricting U.S. government-sponsored regional conferences and trainings in Nairobi and reviewing the numbers of TDY personnel coming to the country for official purposes.”


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