The embassy of the United States in Nairobi has issued a terror alert, warning Westerners that they may be targeted by terrorists in Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki, and coastal areas.
The alert could result in an increase in alertness and could serve as a deterrent as Kenyan authorities stay on the look-out for terrorists.
“The U.S. Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for heightened vigilance throughout Kenya, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship,” the embassy said in a message posted on its website.
In the alert, the US said credible information indicated that the terror elements are targeting tourists from western countries in the specified areas known to be favorite destinations of tourists from Europe and the US.
Nanyuki plays host to forces from the British military who train in Laikipia and Samburu counties as well as foreigners engaging in large-scale farming, conservancy and charitable work.
Nairobi is a regional economic hub and the economic and political capital of the country, hosting not only large malls and churches but offices of all three arms of government.
Naivasha has grown into a favored tourist attraction, with activity around the lake there and its proximity to national parks a draw for both local and foreign visitors.
The U.S. Embassy also reminded the public of the continued need for heightened vigilance throughout Kenya, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship.
In the advisory, the US has urged the public to be aware of their surroundings, and report suspicious activity to authorities immediately.
The public has also been advised to carefully consider visiting locations frequented by tourists/Westerners and have travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
The US has strongly recommended that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nairobi enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives the US citizens the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact them in an emergency.
In appraising her citizens, the US asked the foreigners in Kenyan soil to review their personal security plans and directed that if they don’t have Internet access, they should enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The alert is likely to put the security agencies, key among them the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and the National Intelligence Service, on high alert to foil the attacks.
The Cabinet last week approved the establishment of a Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Centre (C-IED Centre) at Embakasi Garrison in Nairobi.
Germany will donate 1.8 million Euros for the construction of the C-IED Centre, which will be a constituent college of the International Peace Support Training Centre, central in equipping the Kenya Defence Forces personnel with the knowledge and technology to robustly detect and safely disarm IEDs.
Advancements in technology have aided the terrorists but it has also enabled authorities to quickly track down perpetrators and their sympathizers, resulting in the arrest of a range of individuals suspected to have helped the 14 Riverside attackers.