On Saturday, the British government issued a travel advisory to its citizens visiting Kenya urging them to stay away from certain parts of Kenya especially prone to terrorist attacks.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), listed northeastern counties of Garissa, and Mandera as well as some parts of Tana River and Lamu counties as places British nationals should not go unless it is essential to do so.
“(FCO) advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County, Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island), areas of Tana River County north of the Tana River itself and within 15km of the Coast from the Tana River down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river,” the FCO said in a statement.
The advisory comes on the back of relentless attacks by Al-shabab who are spoiling for a fight with Kenya and have been carrying out attacks in the country undeterred since the start of this year. Early Monday morning, al-shabab striked again and attacked Kamuthe village in Garissa County killing three non-local teachers before touching a police station and destroying a communication mast.
This is al-shabab’s 11th attack inside Kenya in the past 6 weeks. 4 in Garissa, 3 in Wajir, 2 in Mandera and 2 in Lamu.
The UK foreign office advisory comes a week after al-shabaab attacked Manda-Magogoni military base on Manda Bay Island in Lamu, exposing Kenya’s soft underbelly.
Lamu is one of Kenya’s top tourist destinations, whose vulnerability to militant attacks saw it suffer massive losses five years ago due to travel advisories issued by Kenya’s key tourism source markets following rise in insecurity.
Lifting of the travel advisories by most foreign countries, particularly the UK, in March 2017 boosted tourism and investment in Lamu.
last year, UK was the fourth leading source of foreign tourists to Kenya after tourism earnings grew by 3.9% to Sh163.6 billion as arrivals defied terror threats and global geopolitics to remain above the two-million mark.
The UK brought in 181,484 visitors, behind USA, Uganda and Tanzania.