PROMPTED BY TERROR ATTACKS

Lift travel advisories, say Lamu leaders, tourism players

Leaders said terrorism was a global threat, not just Lamu's problem

In Summary
  • Countries like UK, Germany, France and the US have active advisories on Lamu — not travel bans.
  • Lamu leaders appealed for the lifting of advisories that hurt development and tourism.
Lamu Old Town promenade, a major touristattraction.
LAMU PROMENADE: Lamu Old Town promenade, a major touristattraction.
Image: COURTESY

Travel advisories affecting parts of Lamu by western nationals has angered Lamu leaders and tourism stakeholders who called for lifting them.

A number of advisories were reimposed after a spate of recent terrorist attacks in Lamu and northern Kenya. They are not travel bans and do not affect safari destinations, Lamu Island and Manda Island.

Advisories have been issued by the UK, the US, Britain, France and other countries.

They urge citizens to exercise caution, however, when visiting Kenya and avoid places when foreigners may congregate.

Britain is the latest country to issue advisories, asking citizens to be vigilant when visiting locations supermarkets, shopping centres, commercial buildings, coastal areas including beaches, government buildings, airports, buses, trains, hotels, bars, restaurants, sports bars and night clubs, sporting events and transport hubs, owing to possible terror attacks.

 

 

 

They call for caution when visiting places of worship.

The UK statement reads,  “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somalia border, Garissa county, Lamu county (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island), areas of Tana River county north of the Tana River itself and within 15km of the Coast from the Tana River down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river.

Addressing the media in Lamu town on Tuesday, Lamu Senator Anwar Loitiptip and Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo called the move absolutely unnecessary as terrorism was a global threat.

The two said the advisories hurt the region's economy, especially tourism, and that of Kenya at large.

 

“These countries are simply blowing up this whole issue of terrorism out of proportion. Terrorism is a global threat and does not just affects Lamu. These advisories are not doing tourism any good. The government of Kenya has been steadfast in its commitment to fight terrorism and that should count,” Loitiptip said.

Women Representative  Ruweida Obbo said security in Lamu has greatly improved since the first terror attacks in 2014 and the number of attacks has drastically declined.

The advisories are unfair, she said.

“Terrorism affects all nations whether in Africa, Europe or wherever. Imposing advisories on a particular country won’t help at all,” Obbo said.

Lamu’s Tourism Caucus Representative Abdallah Fadhil said the tourism sector has yet to recover from the effects of terrorism between 2014 and 2015 and recent travel advisories were worsening the situation.

He said Kenya should consider withdrawing its troops from Somalia if that will guarantee peace and top to the frequent terror attacks.

“If the presence of our KDF soldiers in Somalia is doing more harm than good, why not recall them and have them guard our borders instead? But our biggest plea for western countries to lift unnecessary advisories," Fadhil said.

(Edited by V. Graham)