Kenya differs with US on travel alerts
Posted Tuesday, June 26 2012 at 23:30
- It has affected the tourism industry and will dent our economy, says Mr Kimemia
Kenya and United States Governments have differed over the issuance of a travel advisory.
The differences emerged on Tuesday after the US embassy in Nairobi declined a request by Kenyan officials to withdraw an emergency message it issued on Saturday that cautioned Americans against travelling to Mombasa citing “an imminent threat of a terrorist attack.”
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia sought to have the advisory withdrawn even after three people were killed and 30 others injured in a Sunday explosion at Jericho Beer Garden in Mishomoroni, Mombasa, barely 48 hours after the warning.
A dispatch from the embassy said according to the (State) Department’s policy, they issue an emergency message when a threat to a US citizen is credible.
In doing so Mr Kimemia said the US had backtracked on an agreement that no advisories would be issued, because “the level of security was heightened to prevent terror attacks.”
“The US had assured us on Wednesday that there would be no advisories when we got wind of it (planned attack),” he added.
Mr Kimemia went on to describe Sunday’s blast as an “isolated incident,” not related to the intelligence reports the US embassy had relied on before issuing the precautions.
“You may win 20 times and so you can’t be said not to be doing anything when you lose once. That’s the war against terrorism,” said Mr Kimemia.
The US also closed its offices at the coastal town, and pulled out its staff and other government officials.
Speaking to journalists at the Kenya Institute of Administration on Monday, Mr Kimemia said, “we want the US government to withdraw the advisory. It has affected the tourism industry and will dent our economy.”
He also defended the police saying they were on top of security in the country and praised them for generating the intelligence.