Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Latest from the U.S. Embassy

Situation Security Update - January 29, 2008 PM* Several official Americans have been temporarily relocated from Kisumu to Nairobi.* The widespread violence that has affected parts of Kenya since President Kibaki was declared the winner of the December 27 election has subsided in some areas. However, a recent outbreak of protests in Nairobi and violent civil unrest in Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha demonstrates the potential for spontaneous violence in the current political climate.* Americans in Kenya should be prepared for a large police presence and potential outbreaks of hostile clashes between police and demonstrators, and between rival groups of demonstrators.* American citizens should avoid all travel to the cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Naivasha and defer non-essential travel to the remaining portions of Kenya's three provinces -- Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley -- which are most affected by the unrest. Road travel in western Kenya remains unsafe. Sporadic illegal road blocks by gangs or criminal elements make travel risky.* On January 24, former UN Secretary Kofi Annan met with President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga. On January 29, Annan, Kibaki and Odinga met for a second time. Kibaki and Odinga each selected three-person negotiating teams and talks towards a political solution to the crisis are now underway. The situation is still very tense and violence could break out at any time, depending on how the negotiations proceed and how the public reacts to unfolding events.* American citizens in Nairobi should avoid Kibera, and other economically disadvantaged parts of the city, and the Uhuru Park area, venues for most of the political demonstrations and rallies. Sporadic violence in Nairobi continues. On January 29, the member of parliament for Embakasi constituency in eastern Nairobi was murdered by unknown assailants. This criminal act has provoked violent protests in the constituency, which adjoins Kibera slum and also includes a number of ethnically mixed, low-income areas near the international airport.
* American citizens residing in Kenya should continue to assess their own safety and security situations and carefully weigh the risks of travel within Kenya.* The roads leading to the airports in Nairobi and Mombasa are open and Kenya's international airports (Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi and Moi in Mombasa) are operating normally. Seats are available for international flights out of Kenya. Domestic flights are also operating.* Americans should avoid nighttime road travel, including the roads to/from JKIA and Wilson airports as these roads are subject to closure by police and/or disruption by demonstrators.* For the near future, intermittent (and at times violent) protest demonstrations are likely to continue, arising quickly and without advance notice. American citizens should avoid all demonstrations and protests since even protests intended to be peaceful can turn violent.* The situation in Kenya is likely to remain volatile for the immediate future and U.S. citizens should, therefore, check the U.S. Embassy Nairobi website at http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html for current information about the situation in Kenya.* Americans living or traveling in Kenya are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website. See also the Kenya Travel Alert and Kenya Travel Warning at http://travel.state.gov for the latest security information.* There have been no reports of injuries to American citizens since the election crisis began.

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