U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec.
By Kevin J. Kelley
The US State Department issued a travel alert on Thursday warning Americans residing in or traveling to Kenya of possible violence in the run-up to the August elections.
“Rallies, demonstrations and protests may occur with little notice and even those intended to be peaceful can escalate into violence,” the notice said.
“As with all large events, there is also the opportunity for criminal elements or terrorists to target participants and visitors,” the State Department added.
It urged US citizens to avoid areas where protests or demonstrations are occurring and to “exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of any such events.”
Candidate selections for national and county offices are taking place this month, the State Department noted.
A travel alert last June urged US citizens to avoid visiting Lamu, Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood and Kenya’s northeastern counties.
That warning also cited a US embassy recommendation to avoid using the Likoni ferry “due to safety concerns” and to visit Mombasa’s Old Town only during daylight hours.
US Ambassador Robert Godec has made pleas for a peaceful election in 2017.
“Youth need to make a commitment to use their power peacefully — a commitment to reject violence, and those who would call for violence,” the US envoy declared in February.
“The future doesn’t just depend on who wins the election; it also depends on how the elections happen,” Ambassador Godec added in a speech in Kariobangi.