NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United States has warned its citizens living
in or planning to travel to Kenya to be very vigilant over
possible outbreaks of violence before the country’s Aug. 8
In a travel alert issued on Thursday
evening, the State Department said political rallies,
demonstrations, and protests may occur with little notice and
even those intended to be peaceful can escalate into violence.
"As with all large events, there is also the opportunity for
criminal elements or terrorists to target participants and
visitors," says the State Department.
The Al-Qaeda-allied militia group, Al-Shabaab, has threatened
Kenya with retaliatory attacks, saying it considers the forces’
crossborder incursion in pursuit of the militants, an affront to
The travel alert warns Americans to avoid areas of
gatherings, protests, and demonstrations, and exercise caution
if unexpectedly in the vicinity of any such events.
"U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain
abreast of the security situation. Monitor media and local
information sources and factor updated information into personal
travel plans and activities," the State Department says.
It also cautions Americans to avoid crowds and remain alert
when using public transportation as well as report specific
safety concerns to local law enforcement authorities.
"Restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the
authorities or caused by political rallies, could occur during
the elections period," reads the alert.
The East African nation plans to hold the general elections
on Aug. 8 and various political parties are carrying out
selection for national and county offices throughout the country
this month, followed by nationwide campaigning.
Analysts had also warned that the warnings are a blow to
Kenya’s already troubled tourist industry which relies on
foreign visitor, many of whom combine safaris with beach
holidays in Mombasa.