The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week cautioned its airlines against flying over certain territories of Kenya’s airspace.
Through a statement seen by Ureport, the FAA said that the cross-border militant activity originating in Somalia posed a potential risk to the US civil aviation operating into, out of, within or over the territory and airspace of Kenya east of 40 degrees east longitude at altitudes below Flight Level (FL) 260.
The FAA said that Al-Shabaab has access to, a variety of weapons, including small arms; indirect fire weapons, such as mortars and rockets; and anti-aircraft-capable weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) that can cause extensive damage.
“Al-Shabaab has previously demonstrated the capability and intent to use MANPADS against civil aviation. Despite Kenyan security efforts, al-Shabaab continues to plot high-profile attacks in Kenya, as demonstrated by the January 2019 attack on the DusitD2 compound and the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall.
“In addition to high-profile attacks, al-Shabaab has conducted multiple small-scale attacks against ground-based targets in eastern Kenya in the Kenya-Somalia border region.
“Due to continued concerns over the risk to U.S. civil aviation in eastern Kenya in the Kenya-Somalia border region and the coastal region of Kenya adjacent to Somalia, areas in which al-Shabaab continues to operate, U.S. operators and airmen are advised to exercise caution when operating into, out of, within, or over the territory and airspace of Kenya east of 40 degrees east longitude at altitudes below FL260.
“Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (HKJK) and Moi International (HKMO) are not within the area covered by the flight advisory,” read the statement in part.
On Thursday, the US Embassy also warned that terrorist groups may be plotting an attack against a major hotel in Nairobi.
The exact hotel has not been identified, but it is believed to be a hotel popular with tourists and business travelers.