US issues Kenya terror alert as Govt. pledges security beef-up

The US Embassy has issued a terror alert in Kenya, urging vigilance in public places hours after the government announced heightened security to forestall any terror threat.

This comes after the Dutch, German, French and UK consulates in the country issued a similar warning on Thursday, January 27. 

“There is the potential for increased crime and acts of violent extremism in Kenya this time of year. The US Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for sustained vigilance in public locations such as shopping malls, hotels, airports, clubs, restaurants, transportation hubs, schools, places of worship and other areas frequented by tourists,” the Embassy said on its official website on Friday, January 28.

“Public events, such as demonstrations and celebratory gatherings, are also at a higher risk for violence,” said the American consulate.

To reduce the risk of exposure, the US advised its citizens to “exercise vigilance at events, places of worship, and locations with large crowds; review personal security plans and monitor local media for updates”.

After the UK, Dutch, German and French embassies in Kenya issued terror alerts on Thursday, Kenya’s National Police Service on Friday said it had heightened security surveillance countrywide.

Police spokesperson Bruno Shioso, in a press statement dated Friday, January 28, said it had received information about the terror alerts.

“Our attention has been drawn to information circulating on social media warning of impending terror attack, particularly in Nairobi,” he said.

To avert the said-attacks, which the embassies said would be concentrated in Nairobi, North Eastern and Coast, Shioso said the Police Service has re-engineered its units in line with modern-day policing dynamics.

“We urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities through our toll-free numbers: 999, 911, 112 and 0800722203,” said Shioso, assuring Kenyans that security has been enhanced in the wake of attack warnings.

The alerts comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday witnessed the signing of a Joint Declaration on the Kenya-European Union (EU) Strategic Dialogue by Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo and visiting EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles.

The Declaration signed at State House, Nairobi will guide Kenya-EU bilateral negotiations in three thematic areas namely peace, security and stability; sustainability including implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and economy, trade and development.

The Joint Declaration is an outcome of the EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue process unveiled by President Kenyatta and his European Council counterpart Charles Michel in June last year and is a step forward in strengthening ties between Nairobi and Brussels.