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US Warns Its Citizens Of Risks Of Travel To Kenya

The U.S. State Department has warned its citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. U.S. nationals in Kenya and those considering travel to that country have been advised to evaluate their personal security situation in the light of continued and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.

The levels of risk vary throughout the country, says a Travel Warning update issued on Wednesday.

The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, particularly after the death of Osama bin Laden. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports.

Although there have been recent gains in the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities, many of those involved remain at large and continue to operate in the region. Travelers are advised to consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.

As a result of recent attacks and threats, U.S. government employees, contractors, grantees, and their dependents are prohibited from traveling to the north-eastern province, including El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Dadaab, Mandera, and Liboi. The travel restriction for Lamu has been lifted. However, the restriction remains in place for the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwayu and north to Kiunga located on the Kenya-Somalia border.

Although these restrictions do not apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. government, U.S. citizens already in Kenya have been reminded to take these restrictions into account when planning travel.

Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings, home invasions/burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location, most particularly in capital Nairobi. U.S. citizens have fallen victim to such crimes within the past year. U.S. nationals in Kenya should be extremely vigilant with regard to their personal security, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship. Americans should also remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events.

The drought affecting the Horn of Africa is causing thousands of people to pour across Kenya's porous borders each week. With Kenya's endemic poverty and the availability of weapons in the area, the result could be an increase in crime. Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such acts or prosecute perpetrators.

U.S. citizens are cautioned against demonstrations and political rallies, which can turn violent without notice.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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