German tourist shot dead in Mombasa’s Old Town

Kenya’s coastal tourism fraternity is reeling from news that last evening, around 1730 hours East African time, a German female tourist was shot dead in the old town of Mombasa, while her companion

German tourist shot dead in Mombasa’s Old Town

Kenya’s coastal tourism fraternity is reeling from news that last evening, around 1730 hours East African time, a German female tourist was shot dead in the old town of Mombasa, while her companion was injured and taken to a local hospital for emergency treatment.

The incident comes barely two weeks after a Russian female tourist was also killed in Old Town in what authorities tried to explain as a mugging or robbery gone wrong. In this latest case, for now at least, there is no indication that it was again a robbery attempt, leaving the killing open to speculation as to the motive and the perpetrators which reportedly fled the scene and escaped.

At the time of the first killing in Old Town, a major tourist attraction for visitors coming to this part of Mombasa to explore Fort Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kenya’s government had issued statements about efforts to increase security in places frequented by tourists while local tour and hotel operators demanded that increased patrols of regular and of tourism police be deployed. Sadly those assurances have been found to be wanting, as was the case over the past weeks in the distant Lamu county where attacks have continued in spite of the country’s security chiefs promising time and again that the local population was safe and measures had been put into place to stop the attacks.

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Tourism marketers were left struggling for words to respond to this latest blow to Kenya’s efforts to keep the once-thriving industry from total collapse, as the coast resorts, already suffering from significantly lower occupancies compared to past years, is staring financial starvation if not ruin in the face.

Germany has been one of Kenya’s core markets in Europe and charter flights by Condor, one of Germany’s main leisure airlines, were in fact increased. The impact of the killing of a German tourist cannot at this stage be fully assessed but going by past experience, the German Embassy in Nairobi will no doubt react to this sad incident. While in the past it could be pointed out that tourists have not come to harm in Kenya, this no longer seems to be a line one can continue to put out into the public domain, as two killings of tourists, in the same part of Mombasa for that matter, are simply two killings too many.

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