Special tourist force to be set up

Wednesday December 7 2011

By BOZO JENJE and GEORGE KIKAMI [email protected]

A special unit will be set up to protect tourists visiting parks as the government steps up efforts to ensure their security during this festive season.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) boss Julius Kipng’etich said the organisation will set up a tourist protection unit that will also prevent abductions and terrorism.

“It will be an agile, highly qualified and mobile force,” Mr Kipng’etich said.

KWS will also increase the number of rangers from the current 3,500 to 5,000 in 2015. By then, its fleet of vehicles will be increased to 1,000.
It will also acquire 14 light aircraft.

Speaking during a tourism stakeholders meeting in Mombasa on Wednesday, Mr Kipng’etich said that light aircraft will be stationed at the regional headquarters in order for them to respond faster to emergencies.

To curb poaching, KWS will also establish the country’s first forensic laboratory next year.

He also revealed plans to link Nakuru and Naivasha national parks.

“We are negotiating to get 6,000 acres of land from Soysambu to expand the Nakuru National Park,” the director said.

In Mombasa, AP commandant Kinuthia Mbugua assured tourists visiting the country this festive season that they are safe.

Speaking during a visit to the North Coast on Wednesday, he asked APs to complement efforts of the military in the fight against Al-Shabaab by being on high alert this month.