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US Renews Terror Warning Against Travel To Kenya
In a revised alert released by the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, the U.S. State Department called on American citizens in the east African nation to evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing terror threats.
"The department recommends that private American citizens in Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing terrorist threats and the limited ability of the Kenyan authorities to detect and deter such acts," reads the warning.
"The U.S. government continues to receive indications of terrorist threats in Kenya and elsewhere in eastern Africa aimed at the U.S. and western interests," it states.
The warning, which replaced an existing similar July 1 alert, said the U.S. citizens in Kenya should be vigilant for possible terrorist attacks and crime at public places frequented by foreigners, especially in Nairobi and the Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.
"In particular, there is a continuing threat against Westerners in the capital Nairobi and some locales in the coastal region," it said.
"In addition to the terrorist threat, there are increasing incidents of criminal activity, including carjacking, robbery, and other violent crime," the U.S. embassy said.
The U.S. warning came barely a week after its counter-terrorism forces in the Horn of Africa said it was winning the fight to keep Al-Qaeda's influence from spreading in east Africa -- using shovels as their weapons.
Maj. Gen. Tim Ghormley, who assumed command of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in May, said his troops are focusing on humanitarian projects from drilling wells to refurbishing schools and clinics to improve the lives of residents in the region and keep them away from the terror network.
The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, set up in this former French colony in June 2002, is responsible for fighting terrorism in nine countries in the region: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Somalia in Africa and Yemen on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
But in its revised alert, the U.S. warned Americans about possible similar attacks for some time, sparking the ire of Kenyan officials who maintain their country was safe and had repeatedly asked for the warnings to be lifted.
The Kenyan government late last year termed the recent travel alerts issued by the U.S. and Japan governments against their citizens to the east African nation as unfair and unrealistic.
The two governments in October issued travel alerts to their citizens against traveling to Kenya alleging worsening security situation due to the campaigns for the constitutional referendum.
The region has already suffered four terrorist attacks, all either claimed by -- or attributed to -- Osama Bin Laden's Al- Qaeda terrorist network.
In August 1998, car bombs destroyed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; in October 2000 suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole while it was refueling in Yemen; and in November 2002 attackers tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner minutes before a car bomb destroyed a hotel on Kenya's coast city of Mombasa.