Britain issues travel warning to its citizens

By Cyrus Ombati

Nairobi, Kenya: Britain has joined US in issuing travel warning to its citizens over the ongoing presidential petitions whose ruling is set to be delivered on Saturday, March 30.

While issuing the advisory, Britain cautioned its citizens to avoid parts of Nairobi, North Eastern and Coast.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all, but essential travel to within 60 kilometers of the Kenya-Somali border, Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island, Garissa, Eastleigh area of Nairobi and to low income areas of Nairobi, including all townships or slum areas.

The statement said tensions may remain high in the lead up to the ruling of the presidential election petition.

“Follow developments in the media, be vigilant at all times and avoid all demonstrations or large gatherings,” read part of the advisory.

It advised its citizens to take extra care in the area and be vigilant, particularly in public places.

The statement showed 203,290 British nationals visited Kenya in 2011 and most visits are trouble-free.

“There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. There has been a spate of attacks in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Mombasa, and North Eastern Province. Further attacks are likely.”

The statement added there are incidents of crime including mugging, armed robbery and carjacking, particularly in the large cities.

“Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.”

The US embassy in Nairobi issued a travel advisory against its citizens during the Easter weekend over the pending ruling on presidential election petitions filed against Uhuru Kenyatta.

The embassy issued an advisory warning its citizens against participating in gatherings and demonstrations.

“The U.S. Embassy strongly urges all U.S. citizens to avoid gatherings, demonstrations, downtown business areas, slums, and large crowds of any kind,” read part of the advisory.

The warning adds the even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent with little or no warning.

“Demonstrations could also lead to traffic congestion and possible road closures. U.S Citizens are advised to be cautious and monitor local media for the latest information on demonstrations and traffic disruptions, particularly those who plan to spend the holiday away from home.”

The warning was issued in connection with the pending ruling on the petitions filed at the Supreme Court to challenge the declaration by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that Kenyatta worn the March 4 polls.

Sources told The Standard several other western embassies in Nairobi have issued such an advisory to their citizens calling for extra caution ahead and after the ruling.

There are three petitions filed against Kenyatta, one by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is seeking several declarations among them those that could, if granted, force fresh presidential elections through invalidation of the poll.