US Citizens Barred From Travelling To These Kenyan Areas

Kenya was generally issued a Level 2 alert meaning Americans should exercise increased caution while in the country...

US Citizens Barred From Travelling To These Kenyan Areas
US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. /FILE

The United States Department of State has advised American citizens not to travel to three regions in Kenya ahead of the festive season.

In an advisory issued on Thursday, December 15, the department issued a Level 4 alert on the Kenya-Somalia border counties, three areas in the Coastal region and one in Turkana County.

For the Kenya-Somalia border counties, Americans were cautioned against travelling to Mandera, Wajir and Garissa due to kidnapping and terrorism. The same reason was applied to the areas of Tana River and Lamu County as well as areas of Kilifi County north of Malindi.

Buildings in Lamu County. /SHUTTERSTOCK

In Turkana, Americans were prohibited from travelling through the road from Kainuk to Lodwar due to crime and armed robbery, which occur frequently.

The Nairobi neighbourhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera were issued a Level 3 alert owing to frequent, spontaneous and violent crimes in the two residential areas.

"Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Street crime can involve multiple armed assailants. 

"Local police often lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents," the advisory read.

Americans were also urged to reconsider travelling to certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and security operations. The department named Nyahururu, Laikipia West, and Laikipia North Sub-counties as risky areas due to ongoing government operations to combat crime, including banditry attacks.

"Consider carefully whether to use the Likoni ferry in Mombasa due to safety concerns," added the department.

Kenya was generally issued a Level 2 alert meaning Americans should exercise increased caution while in the country due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.

The US also took note of limited emergency medical and fire services and warned citizens to be especially careful when travelling after dark anywhere in the country due to crime.

"Terrorist attacks have occurred with little or no warning, targeting Kenyan and foreign government facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, hotels, resorts, markets/shopping malls, and places of worship.  Terrorist acts have included armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks, and kidnappings.

"Demonstrations may occur, blocking key intersections and resulting in widespread traffic jams.  Strikes and other protest activities related to political and economic conditions occur regularly, particularly in periods near elections. Violence associated with demonstrations, ranging from rock throwing to police using deadly force, occurs around the country; it is mostly notable in western Kenya and Nairobi," added the advisory.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating in the vicinity of the Kenyan-Somali border, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM).

Americans were advised to enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate them in an emergency.

Inspector General of Police (IG) Japhet Koome on December 14 took action against a police officer who raised an alert regarding possible terrorist attacks in Nairobi malls. He assured the public that the country was safe under the surveillance of security teams and urged Kenyans to continue with their daily businesses without fear.

Inspector General Japhet Koome speaking after taking oath at the Supreme Court on Friday, November 11, 2022. /KBC