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February 19, 2018

US warns citizens traveling to Kenya on possible poll violence

Voters queue at Kibiru polling centre in Kawangware, Nairobi, as they wait to cast their votes on August 8, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI
Voters queue at Kibiru polling centre in Kawangware, Nairobi, as they wait to cast their votes on August 8, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI

The US Department of State has issued a travel alert warning of possible violence over the October 17 repeat presidential election.

"Rallies, demonstrations and protests may occur with little notice," the department said in an alert issued on September 13.

The fresh election is between President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga, who both command a huge following.

The US noted that as with all major events, there is the opportunity for "criminal elements or terrorists" to target participants and visitors.

"Even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence."

Read: US warns against travel to Kenya ahead of August polls

The warning asked US citizens to avoid visits to six counties - Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu and parts of Kilifi county.

"You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations," read the alert.

"Although there is no indication that US citizens may be targets of violence, you are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period."

The citizens were also asked to monitor media and local information sources regarding election-related developments.

This came barely a week after the US urged travellers to Kenya to take precautions against the threat of al Shabaab terrorists.

Also read: US warns its citizens of 'potential terror threats', issue travel advisory

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