On 27 January, the embassies of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands issued warnings to their citizens in Kenya to be careful in crowded places, starting this weekend. At the same time, local authorities were alerted. On the 28th, the Kenyan government responded promptly. After confirming the increased security in some areas of the capital Nairobi, the Kenyan government also took a swipe at foreign powers. The government did not like the communication methods of Westerners who, in their opinion, circumvented the usual methods of communication on issues relating to national security and warned Kenyans about the futility of panicking.

enyan protests are by no means new, with the government often complaining of excessive foreign interference in public security matters, affecting the country’s economy which is deeply tied to tourism. On closer inspection, it was only the French embassy that preached such a nefarious situation. The embassy of the République had in fact warned its fellow citizens not to go to crowded places, such as shopping centres and public places, because a serious risk of attacks against foreigners was considered possible. This communiqué was then repeated by Germany and the Netherlands. The British communiqué was much more cautious, advising British citizens only not to go to certain areas of the country (for example, no closer than 60 km from the border with Somalia). Finally, the US embassy itself, which was not directly involved, had only timidly advised against visiting crowded places.

Regardless of whether the concerns are well-founded, these announcements come, however, after the activity of the terrorist group al-Shabab intensified. Only a few days earlier, court officials were attacked by suspected militants of the jihadist group at Lamu near Nyongoro. The attack on the car park of a Chinese construction company last week, on the other hand, was certainly of jihadist origin.


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