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Thursday, 20 October 2011

UPDATE: Security Situation in Kenya

Following recent incursions across the border into Kenya by Somali bandits, resulting in the murder of one tourist and the kidnapping of four other foreign nationals in isolated beach resorts and a refugee camp near the Somali border, the government of Kenya gave assurances that serious efforts would be made to enhance security along the border with Somalia to counteract the threat from Somali terrorists and to protect visitors and Kenyans from further attacks.

The government has now taken action, as promised, to have a stronger military presence along the land border with Somalia in the remote north-eastern region of Kenya to stop any further incursions into Kenya by Somali bandits or by the Al Shabab terrorist group. The Kenya Army has deployed troops along the border and has crossed into Somalia to ensure that the area all along the border is cleared of any bandits or suspected terrorists. Kenya is also giving air and ground support to the Somali government, which is carrying out its own offensive against Al Shabab. At the coast, the Kenya Navy is co-operating with the international navies present in the Indian Ocean for counter-piracy exercises, and has naval patrol boats in the Lamu area to intercept and inspect any boats coming towards Kenya from the Somali coastal waters.

As expected, the Al Shabab terrorist organisation has retaliated by issuing threats which have been publicised by the international media but security analysts have pointed out that they appear to lack the capacity for any effective military response. Western diplomats in Nairobi have praised Kenya for taking prompt and effective action to enhance security along the land border.

The wildlife parks and reserves in Kenya are all located far away from the border with Somalia and have never been considered to be under any threat, while the beach resorts south of Lamu are also considered to be safe in view of their location being at a greater distance from the border with Somalia.

Visitors can be assured that they will continue to receive the normal friendly welcome and hospitality for which Kenyans are renowned and that they can travel to Kenya for safaris and beach holidays in the knowledge that their safety and security remains a high priority for the Kenyan government and for all of us in Kenya's tourism sector.

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