Travel Warning – Kenya February 08, 2008

Published by Chris Harvey February 25, 2008

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

February 08, 2008

This Travel Warning is being issued to update U.S. citizens on safety and security conditions in Kenya.  The United States Peace Corps has decided to temporarily suspend its program in Kenya due to the continuing instability associated with the post-election dispute.  This Travel Warning also reminds American citizens that the U.S. Department of State has authorized non-emergency personnel and family members to depart from Kisumu and Kericho to Nairobi.  We urge American citizens to defer all travel to Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza Provinces.  This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning of October 18, 2007 and incorporates key information from the Kenya Travel Alert of January 31, 2008.

Current Situation
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The U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that private American citizens in Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing terrorist threats, increasing incidents of violent crime, and hostile civil unrest following the disputed December election results.  While much of the widespread civil unrest, demonstrations, and looting that has affected Kenya following the disputed December 27 Presidential election has subsided, the potential for spontaneous violence remains.  American citizens should be prepared for a large police presence and the possibility of sudden outbreaks of hostile clashes between police and demonstrators, as well as between rival groups of demonstrators.  While international and domestic airports are operating normally, one cannot discount the possibility that this might change on short notice.

Because of this continuing volatility, the U.S. Peace Corps has announced it will temporarily suspend its operations in Kenya and remove all remaining volunteers.  U.S. citizens should also be aware that the U.S. Department of State has authorized non-emergency personnel and family members to depart from Kisumu and Kericho and relocate to Nairobi.

American citizens are urged to defer all travel to Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza Provinces.  Road travel in these western provinces of Kenya remains unsafe.

Sporadic illegal road blocks by gangs or criminal elements may make travel possible only with police or military escorted convoys.  American citizens should also avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings since even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can become violent.

Crime and Terrorist Acts
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Kenya has a high incidence of crime and is potentially susceptible to terrorist attacks.  Terrorist acts may include suicide operations, bombings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports.  Violent criminal attacks, including armed carjacking, kidnappings, and home invasions/burglary, can occur at any time and in any location, and are becoming increasingly frequent, brazen, vicious, and often fatal.  In January 2007, two family members of a U.S. Embassy employee were killed by armed carjackers.  Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter and investigate such acts.

U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate and random attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and locations where foreigners are known to congregate, as well as commercial operations associated with U.S. or other foreign interests.

American citizens in Kenya should remain vigilant, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship.  Americans should also remain vigilant in residential areas, schools, and at outdoor recreational events, and should avoid demonstrations and large crowds.

Americans who travel to or reside in Kenya despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.  The U.S. Embassy is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (254) (20) 363-6000; fax (254) (20) 363-6410.  In the event of an after-hours emergency, the Embassy duty officer may be contacted at (254) (20) 363-6170.  The Embassy home page is http://kenya.usembassy.gov.

Updated information on travel and security in Kenya may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  For further information please consult the Country Specific Information for Kenya and the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

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