US issues travel alert on Kenya ahead of repeat Presidential poll

The new notice comes less than a week after the US urged travellers to Kenya to take precautions against the threat of Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks

The US government has issued a travel alert to its citizens residing in or travelling to Kenya, warning of possible violence ahead of the October 17 repeat presidential election.

The travel alert issued on Wednesday notes that rallies, demonstrations and protests may occur with little notice. It goes further to indicate that given the magnitude of the election exercise, there is the opportunity for criminal elements or terrorists to target participants and visitors.

“As with all large events, there is the opportunity for criminal elements or terrorists to target participants and visitors.”

“Even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence,” the alert continued while cautioning its citizens against being in the vicinity of large gatherings, demonstrations or protests.

The State Department says there is no indication that US citizens may be targeted, but it urges them to “exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period.”

The new notice comes less than a week after the US urged travellers to Kenya to take precautions against the threat of Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks. In the September 8 travel warning, US citizens were cautioned against visiting six counties— Mandera, Wajir and Garissa in the northeast, along with Tana River, Lamu and parts of Kilifi on the Coast.

The latest notice comes in the wake of the opposition’s push for reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before the poll is held.

Raila Odinga and the National Super Alliance (NASA) team have threatened to boycott the repeat Presidential election if IEBC officials accused of bungling the August 8 poll are not sacked.

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