Friday, July 25, 2014

Kenya: Update--Fifty Peace Corps Volunteers Leave as Risk to Foreigners Rise

According to http://www.the-star.co.ke, some fifty Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who are dispersed throughout Kenya, have been ordered out of the country due to prevailing security risks, in light of unprovoked shootings on at least two foreign nationals who were killed in Mombasa during the month of July. 

COMMENT: It is unknown as to when the PCVs will return to their assignments.
The  United States Peace Corps programme -- which has around 50 volunteers working in sometimes remote parts of Kenya -- said it was suspending operations and pulling out volunteers due to growing "security concerns", spokeswoman Shira Kramer told AFP.
The announcement comes after a German tourist was shot dead in old town area in Mombasa on Thursday.
Police said the German lady aged 28 and her Ugandan boyfriend aged 33 were confronted by two people, one armed with a pistol, who emerged from a building as the victims were walking along the street and shot them at point blank. The lady was killed instantly. The attackers did not steal anything from the victims.
Mombasa has been the scene of worsening unrest in recent months with a string of shootings and bombings blamed on Somalia's al Shabaab rebels or local supporters.  Last month the al Shabaab, which has carried out a number of attacks on Kenyan soil in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia, warned foreign tourists to stay out of Kenya.
In May, Washington announced it was preparing to cut staff levels at its Nairobi embassy because of the mounting threat of attacks in Kenya by Islamist militants.
A Russian tourist killed on July 6 was shot while touring Fort Jesus, a 16th century Portuguese-built fort and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Three gunmen opened fire and grabbed a bag containing cameras, phones and other personal belongings.
In May several countries stepped up their warnings to travellers, with Britain, France, Australia and the United States telling their citizens to avoid all but essential travel to Mombasa.
The unrest has already provoked scores of cancellations for the tourist industry -- a key foreign currency earner and massive employer for the country -- at one of its traditionally busiest times of the year.
Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie condemned the killing, promising the security forces would continue to ensure people were safe.
"The government will continue to do everything possible to protect the lives of Kenyans and our visitors," Kandie said.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-179749/us-peace-corps-pulls-out-kenya-amid-security-concerns#sthash.m8HhIMhn.dpuf