Saturday, October 22, 2011

US Embassy Nairobi Warns of Imminent Terrorist Attack

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi earlier today (October 22) warned of an impending terrorist attack in Kenya as being possible. Emphasis should be made on the word "possible," which suggests that while the source is credible, likelihood does not seem to rise to the level of probable.

As in previous threats, general threats are often made where Americans and Westerns gather, such as restaurants, nightclubs, shopping areas, tourist attractions, etc.

The Embassy also did not specify who might carry out such a possible threat, nevertheless the information is being disseminated just a week after Kenyan troops pushed into Somalia to attack al-Shabaab militants, blamed for a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil. This is a possible motivation, considering that the US is a close anti-terrorism partner of Kenya, including training and other assistance.

COMMENT: In response to the Kenyan military incursion, al-Shabaab on Monday (October 17) threatened to carry out suicide attacks in Kenya similar to those in July that killed 76 people watching the World Cup final in Uganda. Al-Shabaab said that that attack was a response to Uganda sending troops to support Somalia's government.

If you have read my previous postings on the kidnappings of four European women abducted in Kenya and taken to Somalia (one of which died this week from natural causes), the kidnappings were also a justification for Kenya's sending ground troops and air support into Somalia on October 16.

Somalia has been a failed state for more than 20 years. The lawless country is a haven for pirates and international terrorists and the conflict is causing a major famine which is believed to have cost tens of thousands of lives already. Al-Shabaab is also blocking aid from reaching hungry Somalis, after it banned major aid groups from operating in the territories it controls.

As for the US Embassy threat, prudent steps for resident Americans and Westerners should include: (1) Avoiding luxury hotel lobbies wherever possible; (2) Deferring optional trips to shopping malls, Christmas bazaars, restaurants predominantly frequented by foreigners; (3) Avoid holiday parties attended predominantly by foreigners; (4) Conduct a quick screening of personal vehicles if they are not secured in a parking garage that denies access to others (if you don't know how to do this, please send me an email) @; (5) Stop being a creature of habit by varying your times of departure and arrival at places you normally are expected to be at (e.g., home, office, club, etc.); and (6) Report any indicators of your being watched or followed to your employer or local police.

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