Kenya: US, UK terror alerts are 'completely unfortunate'
The US and UK embassies in the Kenyan capital warn their nationals of terror attacks in Nairobi, while the government, which also alerted Kenyans to remain alert, describes the UK and US alerts as 'unfortunate'.
The US Embassy in Nairobi issued on Thursday a warning claiming that several popular places in Kenya could be possible "imminent" terrorist attacks' targets. The UK Embassy followed suit right away.
Consequently, Kenya described the US and UK alerts in Nairobi as "completely unfortunate".
Still, the government urged Kenyans to remain alert despite recent success in battling Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group mainly active in Somalia.
"Unilateral terror alerts are completely unfortunate but the circumstances under which they have been issued is due to pressure Al-Shabaab is feeling in Somalia from the combined efforts of [the] Somali administration, community and our troops. They are actually on the run and it is believed that some may have crossed into our borders," Kenyan Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing'oei said.
The diplomat said he believes the US and UK embassies issued terror alerts "to make people aware of their environment, like over-crowded places."
"It is not a red alert on an impeding thing," Sing'oei said, adding, "The effect of this alert is that this administration has beefed up security levels in critical installations like public places."
The US Embassy in Kenya warned on February 9 that places frequented by US nationals, alongside other foreigners, in Nairobi in particular and in the East African country in general "continue to be attractive targets to terrorists planning to conduct potentially imminent attacks."
“Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning, targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, schools, police stations, places of worship, and other places frequented by foreigners and tourists,” the US Embassy said in a statement.
Later, the UK Embassy in Nairobi followed in the footsteps of the US Embassy and said, "There is a heightened threat of terrorism, including terrorist kidnappings, across Kenya."
However, they both noted that the Kenyan government has "increased counterterrorism patrols" of late.