More warnings again...
- Nairobi on high terror alert
Standard Reporter and Agencies
Nairobi was on a high state of alert yesterday following a warning by
the US Embassy of a new terrorist threat.
And two buildings in the Central Business District were evacuated
when anonymous callers warned of bombs. The warnings turned out to be
The new fears come ahead of a visit by the US Health Secretary Mr
Tommy Thompson to Nairobi later in the week.
Barclays Plaza was evacuated for four hours after the KLM airline
office received a phone call saying there was a bomb in the building,
Mr Patrick Kinyua, the head of security for the building, said.
Until recently, the building housed the US Embassy Public Affairs
And a Barclays branch office, also in the CBD, was also evacuated for
several hours when the manager received a similar threat.
The Minister for Tourism and Information, Mr Raphael Tuju, confirmed
the Government had received information about a threat to two
downtown hotels in Nairobi.
"We are evaluating it and taking the necessary action," he said. Tuju
said it would not be appropriate to comment further. "We have had
similar kind of warnings in the past but I don't want to go into the
details," he said.
The Government sent armed General Service Unit personnel to guard the
The US Embassy sent warnings to all American citizens to stay away
from the CBD following what it termed an uncorroborated and anonymous
report of a potential terrorist attack.
The US Government recently received an anonymous warning detailing
terrorist threats aimed at American and Western interests in downtown
" ... the timing of the threat is within the next several days," the
embassy said in a statement.
The United Nations also warned its employees to keep off the City
centre yesterday and today.
The US embassy spokesman, Mr Peter Claussen, said American
authorities received an anonymous tip detailing the terrorist threats
Embassy officials have already shared that information with Kenyan
authorities and have been assured the necessary steps are being taken
to counter the threat.
A high-level security meeting was hurriedly convened at Vigilance
House in the afternoon to validate the information regarding the
reports of a planned terror attack in the city.
Senior police officers including the officer Commanding Anti-
Terrorism Unit, Mr Mathew Kabetu, his deputy Mr Kaua Mbijjiwe and the
Nairobi Provincial Police Officer, Mr Jonathan Koskei, met from 2.30
pm to discuss the alert.
A senior police source, while confirming that the was information of
a possible terror attack on hotels, vital installations and
embassies, said all sites had been checked and no unusual discoveries
had been made.
He added that all the installations and premises were currently being
He noted that terrorists do not warn or reveal where they intend to
strike, but instead claim responsibility after the act.
Kenya has been attacked by terrorists twice. On August 7, 1998, the
US embassy was destroyed and 219 people killed in a terrorist bomb
attack. In November 2002, a car bomb blew up outside the Paradise
Hotel in Kikambala, north of Mombasa, killing 15 people, including
three Israeli tourists.
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