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UK closes Mombasa consulate over security concerns

By Staff Reporter

PHOTO | AFP British tourists arrive at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa on May 16, 2014. The United Kingdom has closed its Mombasa consulate over security concerns.

PHOTO | AFP British tourists arrive at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa on May 16, 2014. The United Kingdom has closed its Mombasa consulate over security concerns.  AFP

In Summary

  • The UK recently advised its nationals against all but essential travel to specific areas in Mombasa on grounds of terrorism threats.
  • Days after the advisory, hundreds of tourists left the country via the Moi International Airport aboard a Thomson plane
  • The United Kingdom has closed its Mombasa consulate over security concerns.
  • Kenyan government is fighting a new resurgence of terror activities in Mombasa
  • A number of Islamic leaders in Mombasa have been assassinated by “unknown” gunmen (believed to be Kenyan security agents)
  • Mombasa is believed to be al-Shabaab’s recruitment hub

A statement from the UK Foreign Office said it would provide normal consular assistance to its nationals through the Nairobi office.

“Following the changes made to our travel advice on Wednesday 14 May the decision has been made to close our Honorary Consulate office in Mombasa,” the statement noted.

The UK recently advised its nationals against all but essential travel to specific areas in Mombasa on grounds of terrorism threats.

The government, in an update that was published in the British High Commission website, advised the country’s citizens to avoid travelling to Mombasa, Eastleigh in Nairobi and areas within 60 kilometres of the Kenya-Somalia border.

Mosque in Mombasa old town

Mosque in Mombasa old town is argued to be the centre of all Islamic radicalisation in Mombasa (Photo credit: Terri O’Sullivan)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) further advised against non-essential travel to Garissa and slums in Nairobi and other towns.

Days after the advisory, hundreds of tourists left the country via the Moi International Airport aboard a Thomson plane.

The Thompson tours further indicated on its website that it had cancelled all flights to Mombasa until October 31, 2014.

The British High Commissioner Christian Turner later denied the travel advisory saying that the government had not ordered to evacuate its citizens from Kenya.

Dr Turner added that his government did not issue a travel advisory against the country in the wake of increasing terror attacks which have been witnessed in various parts of the country including Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Kenyan coast has had several terror attacks with the recent one at a fuel station near Chania Travellers booking office that ripped apart two of the company buses killing three people and injuring 24 others.

Other recent activities at the Coast include the killing of an anti-jihad Sheikh Idris Mohammed by unknown gunmen and the injuring of a police officer through a grenade hurled at him by accomplices of a suspect he was arresting.

-The Nation (Kenya)

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