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Mpeketoni was a terror attack, insist UK and US

By Kibiwott Koross | Published Sat, June 21st 2014 at 00:00, Updated June 20th 2014 at 22:55 GMT +3

The US and the UK insist the recent killings in Mpeketoni were a terror attack and not politically instigated, contradicting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s earlier statement.

At the same time, the US announced it is relocating some of its staff in Nairobi to other countries following perpetual security threats.

However, the US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs said the embassy would remain open for normal operations.

“The US government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at US, Western and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including Nairobi area and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region,” it said in a statement.

It further warned its citizens of risks while travelling to Kenya: “US citizens in Kenya and those considering travelling to Kenya should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and high rate of violent crime in some areas.”

Tragic events

Indeed, following the terrorist attack on June 15 in Mpeketoni, in Lamu County, the US Embassy put restrictions on US government personnel travel to all coastal counties: Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu and coastal part of Tana River County.

According to authorities, over 100 people have been killed in these attacks and hundreds  injured. Approximately 53 of these attacks occurred in north eastern Kenya mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.

“One of the terrorist attacks occurred in the town of Mpeketoni on June 15. On May 3, two separate Improvised Explosive Devices detonated in Mombasa area. One occurred at the central stop of a local bus company in which four people were killed. The other occurred at a local resort frequented by Westerners; one was injured at that location,” it said.

UK ambassador to Kenya Christian Turner said: “There is myth the UK will abandon Kenya to face the threat of terrorism alone. The terrorist threat is a global one. None is immune. The wounds from Westgate are still raw and the tragic events in Mpeketoni only harden our resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kenyans in our shared efforts to tackle this threat,” he said.

He allayed fears of a frosty diplomatic engagement with Kenya in the wake of Kenya’s redefined foreign policy, which is tilting towards the east. The ambassador spoke during the Queen’s Birthday party at his residence on Thursday evening.