Kenya travel warnings: High threat from terrorism
Sep 21, 2013
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border; to Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island; to Garissa District; to the Eastleigh area of Nairobi; and to low income areas of Nairobi, including all township or slum areas. See Terrorism and Local travel.
A major attack has taken place at the Westgate shopping Centre in the Westlands district of Nairobi. The incident is still ongoing, with reports of a number of casualties and hostages. Armed Kenyan security forces are on the scene. We advise British nationals to avoid the area and exercise extreme caution. Concerned British nationals are advised to contact the FCO helpline on +44 (0)20 7008 0000 and to keep monitoring travel advice
There is a high threat from terrorism. The main threat is from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia opposed to the Somali government. Al Shabaab has issued public threats against Kenya because of its military intervention in Somalia. The Kenyan authorities have increased security to counter potential reprisal attacks.
Terrorist attacks may target official buildings like government offices and law enforcement personnel or facilities, but could also be indiscriminate. Attacks may occur in places frequented by foreigners like hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, supermarkets, buses, shopping centers and beaches. Attacks have previously targeted places of worship including churches and mosques. Be particularly vigilant in these areas.
There has been a spate of grenade, bomb and armed attacks in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Mombasa, and North Eastern Province. On June 9, grenade attacks took place on a church compound in the Likoni district of Mombasa and in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi, resulting in a number of injuries. On March 5, an explosion occurred near a mosque in the Eastleigh area of Nairobi, reportedly caused by an IED, while a grenade was thrown at a vote tallying Centre in Wajir Town, North Eastern Province. On March 4, there were explosions at two polling stations in Mandera and a grenade was thrown at a police station in Garissa. Further attacks are likely.
There is a high threat of kidnapping in the areas within 60 km of the Kenya-Somalia border, in Garissa District and in coastal areas north of Pate Island. Westerners have been the target of kidnaps and further attacks in these areas are likely.
A number of kidnaps have occurred in Dadaab refugee camp in north east Kenya. British aid workers and others working at or visiting Dadaab refugee camp should satisfy themselves that those arranging their stay at the camp have sufficient security arrangements in place.
There were two attacks by armed gangs in small boats against beach resorts on in September 2011 (Kiwayu) and October 2011 (Manda Island, Lamu). Both attacks were on beach-front properties. Two Westerners were kidnapped and one murdered. Security in these areas has been tightened, but beach-front accommodation and boats off the coast in areas close to the Somali border remain vulnerable.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.
185,967 British nationals visited Kenya in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free.
There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. Attacks have previously occurred in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Coast Province including Mombasa, and North Eastern Province. Further attacks are likely. See Terrorism
Localized violence does occur in Kenya including on the coast, but is not normally directed towards foreigners. See Local travel
There are frequent incidents of violent crime including mugging, armed robbery and carjacking, particularly in the large cities. See Crime
There is a significant threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.