British citizens have been warned to stay clear from visiting areas frequented by foreigners in Kenya to avoid falling prey to terrorists prowling the eastern African nation.
On Saturday, the British government issued a travel advisory through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to its citizens visiting Kenya, urging them to stay away from certain parts of the country especially areas where terrorists might try to carry out attacks.
The United Kingdom foreign office issued the advisory a week after terrorists attacked Manda-Magogoni military base on Manda Bay Island in Lamu.
Lamu is one of Kenya’s top tourist destinations, whose vulnerability to militant attacks saw it suffer massive losses five years ago after travel advisories were issued by Nairobi’s key tourism source markets due to insecurity.
The tourism industry on which so many Kenyans depend for their livelihood suffered a blow as a direct result of travel advisories issued due to terrorist attacks. Such attacks are indiscriminate and target Kenyan institutions as well as places where expatriates and foreign travellers gather, such as hotels, shopping malls, and beaches.
In addition to discouraging tourists from travelling to certain areas in Kenya, these advisories suggest that they should avoid all but essential travel to the country. However, Kenya’s government said the lifting of the travel advisories by most foreign countries, particularly the UK in March 2017 boosted tourism and investment in Lamu.
Last year, the UK was the fourth leading source of foreign tourists during which tourism earnings grew by 3.9 percent to Sh163.6 billion as arrivals defied terror threats and global geopolitics to remain above the two-million mark.
According to the FCO, around 190,000 UK residents who visit Kenya every year never experience trouble. Britain records 181,484 visitors to the country, falling behind the USA, Uganda, and Tanzania.
FCO listed northeastern counties of Garissa, and Mandera as well as some parts of Tana River and Lamu counties as places British nationals should not go unless it is essential to do so.
“(FCO) advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County, Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island), areas of Tana River County north of the Tana River itself and within 15km of the Coast from the Tana River down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a fresh attack was launched this morning against Kamuthe Primary school, Kamuthe Police Post, a telecommunications mast in Kenya, killing three teachers. The attack was suspected to have been carried out by AS Militia, said National Police Service-Kenya.
By Ahmed Iyanda.