The United States of America will not close down its embassy in Nairobi, the embassy said on Saturday, despite the recent terrorist related attacks in the country, and travel advisories it issued alongside other western nations, to its citizens visiting Kenya.
Robert Godec, the US ambassador to Kenya however said in a statement, that the embassy would continue protecting American citizens touring the country and keeping them informed on any potential security risks based on the information they gathered.
Senior government officials including President Uhuru Kenyatta rebuked the travel advisories issued by the US, Britain, France and Australia against travelling to sections of the country including Mombasa, describing the warnings as ‘unfriendly’.
“The most important responsibility of every U.S. Ambassador and Embassy is to protect American citizens and to keep them informed,” Godec said in the statement sent to newsrooms.
He condemned last Friday attacks in Gikomba market which killed at least 10 people, terming them the latest in a series of despicable and cowardly attacks on innocent civilians in Kenya.
“The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at both Kenyans and the international community. We assist the government of Kenya with information, equipment, and training as it works to strengthen security and end the threat of terrorism,” Godec said.
“The Embassy is continuously reviewing and updating its security measures, and expects to take additional steps in coming days, to include on U.S. staffing. We remain open for normal operations and have no plan to close the Embassy.”
Over 500 tourists mainly from Britain cut short their holiday in Mombasa and its environs and flew back home on chattered flights last week, after the advisories were issued, in a move tourism stakeholders said was a major blow to the already fragile industry, and which president Kenyatta had said was on its ‘knees’.
The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers said they had lost billions of shillimgs, and that it would take years before the industry recovered fully.