Friday, June 20, 2014

Kenya: Update--DOS Restricts Diplomatic Travel, Safehavens Staff in Nearby Nations as A Result of Unchecked Violence

According to Reuters, the US Department of State said it would move some of its diplomats out of Kenya and has banned all embassy staff from traveling to its Indian Ocean coastline, where about 65 people were killed in attacks on Sunday and Monday (June 15-16).

Islamist militants from neighboring Somalia claimed responsibility for the indicriminate shootings and execution-style killings, President Uhuru Kenyatta said they were instead the work of his domestic political rivals.

Kenya has seen a dramatic rise in both IED usage as well as small-arms attacks by Somalia's al-Shabaab militants who want it to pull its troops out of Somalia. 

COMMENT: What President Kenyatta seemingly does not understand is that the US Department of State has a legal responsibility to safeguard its citizens in Kenya from injury and death at a time when the Kenyan government seems impotent, inept and incapable of neutralizing violence.

The US Embassy in Nairobi has instituted restrictions on US government personnel travel to all coastal counties," the US State Department said in a statement on its website on Thursday (June 19).

It said the Department continues to receive information about potential attacks on US, Western and Kenyan interests in East Africa's biggest economy, including the capital of Nairobi and coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani.
 
"Based on the recent changes in Kenya's security situation, the Embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries," it said.

Britain, France and Australia last month issued warnings to their citizens against travelling to parts of Kenya's coastline. President Kenyatta earlier this year said the tourism industry was "on its knees" due to Islamist attacks.