Sunday, February 03, 2008
WARDEN MESSAGES: AMERICAN CITIZENS WARNED ABOUT KENYA!
Situation Security Update - February 1, 2008
January 31, 2008
The State Department authorized non-emergency personnel and
family members to relocate from Kisumu to Nairobi.
As a result, most official Americans and family members have
departed Kisumu and have relocated to Nairobi. Only officially
designated emergency personnel will continue to work in Kisumu and only as the security situation permits.
The widespread violence that has affected parts of Kenya since
President Kibaki was declared the winner of the December 27 election has subsided in some areas, but continues to flare up in others. Recent outbreak of protests in Nairobi and violent civil unrest in Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and Naivasha demonstrates the potential for continued spontaneous violence in the current political climate.
On January 24 and 29, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
met with President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga. As a result of these meetings, Kibaki and Odinga each selected three-person negotiating teams and talks towards a political solution to the crisis are now underway. The situation, however, remains tense and violence could break out at any time, depending on how the negotiations proceed and how the public reacts to unfolding events.
On January 29, a member of parliament for Embakasi constituency
in eastern Nairobi was murdered by unknown assailants. This criminal act provoked violent protests in the constituency, which adjoins Kibera and also includes a number of ethnically mixed, low-income areas near the international airport.
On January 31, another member of parliament from Kericho was
murdered for what authorities said were reasons unrelated to the ongoing crisis. Coming so soon after the murder of the Embakasi member of parliament, however, this event increased already heightened tensions.
On February 1, government and opposition leaders reportedly
agreed on a plan to end the political and ethnic violence gripping the county.
Americans in Kenya should be still prepared for a large police
presence and potential outbreaks of hostile clashes between police and demonstrators, and between rival groups of demonstrators.
American citizens should avoid all travel to the cities of
Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and Naivasha and defer non-essential travel to the remaining portions of Kenya's three provinces -- Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley -- which are most affected by the unrest. Road travel in western Kenya remains unsafe. Sporadic illegal road blocks by gangs or criminal elements make travel risky.
American citizens in Nairobi should avoid Kibera, and other
economically disadvantaged parts of the city, and the Uhuru Park area, venues for most of the political demonstrations and rallies. Sporadic violence in Nairobi continues.
American citizens residing in Kenya should continue to assess
their own safety and security situations and carefully weigh the risks of travel within Kenya.
The roads leading to the airports in Nairobi and Mombasa are
open and Kenya's international airports (Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi and Moi in Mombasa) are operating normally. Seats are available for international flights out of Kenya. Domestic flights are also
Americans should avoid nighttime road travel, including the
roads to/from JKIA and Wilson airports as these roads are subject to closure by police and/or disruption by demonstrators.
For the near future, intermittent (and at times violent)
protest demonstrations are likely to continue, arising quickly and
without advance notice. American citizens should avoid all
demonstrations and protests since even protests intended to be peaceful can turn violent. The situation in Kenya is likely to remain volatile for the immediate future and U.S. citizens should, therefore, check the U.S. Embassy Nairobi website at
http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html for current
information about the situation in Kenya. Americans living or traveling in Kenya are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website. See also the Kenya Travel Alert and Kenya Travel Warning at http://travel.state.gov for the latest security information. There have been no reports of injuries to
American citizens since the election crisis began.