United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
March 21, 2008
This Travel Warning is being issued to update U.S. citizens on safety and security conditions in Kenya. Threats of political demonstrations and violence have dramatically receded following the widely accepted power-sharing agreement signed on February 28. The U.S. Department of State has rescinded the authorized departure order for Kisumu and environs and USG personnel and families are able to return there. The temporary suspension of the United States Peace Corps program in Kenya is under review with the goal of resuming the program in the near future. The U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that private American citizens in Kenya and those considering travel to Kenya evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing, potential threats from terrorism and crime. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning of February 8, 2008.
The power-sharing agreement signed on February 28 has been widely accepted throughout Kenya; parliament ratified it on March 18. Implementation of the agreement is expected to proceed. The threat of widespread civil unrest has receded, although there remains potential for spontaneous demonstrations in areas of the country previously impacted should implementation not proceed as expected.
Crime and Terrorist Acts
Kenya has a high rate of violent crime and remains potentially susceptible to attacks from terrorists in the region. The U.S. Government continues to receive indications of potential terrorist threats aimed at American, western, and Kenyan interests. Terrorist acts could include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Many of those responsible for the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in 1998 and on a hotel in Mombasa in 2002 remain at large and continue to operate in the region.
Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings and home invasions/burglaries, can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. In January 2007, two family members of a U.S. Embassy employee were killed by armed carjackers. U.S. Embassy personnel continue to be victims of (non-fatal) carjacking incidents, as recently as mid-March 2008. In the short-term, the displacement of thousands of people by the recent civil unrest combined with endemic poverty and the availability of weapons could result in an increase in crime, both petty and violent. Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter, investigate and prosecute such acts.
American citizens in Kenya should be 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 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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