NAIROBI, July 4 (Xinhua) — The U.S. government said on Wednesday it has lifted travel warning which was issued to all Americans living in the east African to vacate coastal city of Mombasa due to terror threats.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration said all American government officials who had left the port city over terror threats have since returned to Mombasa but called on them to be extra vigilant.
“The advisory that prevented people from going to Mombasa has been lifted. We are still urging people to continue working and traveling with extreme vigilance. Our officials working in Kenya are now working in Mombasa,” Gration told journalists during celebrations of his country’s Independence Day in Nairobi.
“That does not mean that the threats have diminished but we encourage people to move and travel with extreme vigilance,” he said of the advisory which was issued on June 23, cautioning American citizens staying in Kenya to exercise caution and vigilance in public frequented places.
Washington had warned its citizens of an impending terrorism attack in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa and ordered Americans to vacate Mombasa as it also suspended all U.S. government travel to the port city until July 1, over terrorism fears.
“U.S. private citizens are not subject to the same restrictions but should consider this information in their travel planning. All U.S. government travel to Mombasa is suspended until July,” the statement said.
A blast occurred on June 24, a day after the warning in Mombasa when terrorists threw grenades into a bar in Mombasa, where patrons were gathered to watch the European championship soccer match between England and Italy, killing at least three people and left 25 others injured.
The attack came hours after Nairobi bitterly protested at the decision by U.S. government to issue, terming an act of sabotage.
The East African nation’s coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.
The tourism sector has suffered a decline the number of tourists arriving since September 2011 when the Somali militant group, the Al-Shabaab, carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago and the kidnapping of the Spanish volunteers.
The port city, the capital Nairobi and other parts of Kenya have suffered a series of grenade attacks since Kenya sent troops into Somalia last year to try to pursue Al-Shabaab insurgents it blames for a surge in.
But Gration who is expected to vacate office July 27 called the Kenyan leaders to work in unison and tackle challenges the country faces ahead of the elections.
“Let us focus on unity and peace, liberty and justice. Let us remember that the reforms in Kenya including devolution are for the purpose and benefits of creating a stronger and more unified republic of Kenya for all Kenyans,” he said.
Police have particularly warned against the laxity in the screening of cars for explosives at all shopping malls and any business or social gatherings with at least 10 people at any given moment that these might be vulnerable to attacks.
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