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USAid relocates 'some' staff over insecurity

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | June 26th 2014

The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) is moving some staff from Kenya to Djibouti citing security reasons.

Most of staff being moved are from the East African USAid head office in Nairobi, according to one of the organisation’s officials who spoke to The Standard yesterday. The US has a huge military base in Djibouti.

“We are receiving threats daily, which has forced the relocation. It may be temporary or permanent depending on if the security improves,” said the senior official who, however, asked not to be named.

The move will negatively affect the organisation’s work in the country. Already, the agency has stopped funding new projects and is currently funding only ongoing ones.

The US embassy in Nairobi has also heightened security amid recent terrorist attacks in the country.

The embassy announced last week that it was moving some of its embassy personnel to other countries.

“Based on the recent changes in Kenya’s security situation, the embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries. However, the embassy will remain open for normal operations,” it said in a new travel advisory.

Those remaining are restricted in their travels within the country.

MARINES STRANDED

Ambassador Robert Godec has requested additional Kenyan and American security personnel because of the rise in terrorist threats.

Armed marines have recently begun patrolling the grounds wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that a number of British soldiers who have been training in Nanyuki are stranded in Nairobi after Kenya allegedly declined to allow a new group to replace them.

The military personnel were supposed to leave Kenya on Thursday aboard a military plane that was to arrive with another group from Britain but officials said Kenya had indicated it could not guarantee the visitors’ security.

“The British soldiers have been moved to Kahawa Barracks as the UK embassy engages authorities who say the travel advisories by Britain were unnecessary. We are waiting,” said a source who asked not to be named.

France and Australia have also warned of terrorist threats in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Cases of terrorism have been on the rise in Kenya since the country sent its military across the border in 2011 to pursue members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militia blamed for kidnapping tourists at the Coast.

Since then, there have been several attacks targeting civilians and Government establishments in Nairobi, Mombasa and northern Kenya, which have left scores dead and many injured.

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