At least 400 tourists are reported to have abandoned their holidays in Kenya following the issuing of travel warning by Western countries to their citizens on holiday there. Kenya has issued a rebuke to the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and France for issuing such warnings.
Hoteliers in Kenya are reporting that at least 400 tourists have checked out of their hotels along the Indian Ocean coast for fear that they could be caught up in yet another terrorist attack on the country. Kenya called the alerts “unfriendly”, saying they would increase panic and play into the hands of those behind the gun and grenade assaults that have hit Nairobi, the country’s capital and Mombasa, its next largest city that is often frequented by Western tourists.
Early this month, explosions in Nairobi and Mombasa, one of them at a luxury seaside resort, killed seven people and Kenya blamed this as well as other attacks on the al Qaeda-linked Somali group al Shabaab. The Islamist movement killed at least 67 people including foreigners in a raid on a Nairobi shopping mall in September, saying it was in revenge for attacks on its fighters by Kenyan troops in Somalia.
The warnings and departures by tourists from hotels along the popular coast may further damage Kenya’s tourism sector, one that President Uhuru Kenyatta said is “on its knees” following the series of deadly attacks. Karanja Kibicho, the principal secretary at the foreign affairs department, said Kenya was assuring its visitors of “utmost security and safety”, and lamented the advisories by countries also involved in its fight against the militants.
“The advisories therefore are obviously unfriendly acts coming from our partners who have equally borne the brunt of global terrorism and no doubt understand the repercussions of terror menace,” Kibicho said. Kenyan authorities say they do not know of any imminent threats at the coast. “The threats are perpetual, we are at war. But we have not received any specific threat on the hotels or other key site at the coast,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka. He added that police presence had been increased at the coast.