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Reviewed: 29 June 2012, 17:00 NZDT
Still current at: 26 May 2013
There is some risk to your security overall in Kenya due to the threat from terrorism, kidnapping, violent crime and civil unrest and we advise a high degree of caution.
There is extreme risk to your security along the Kenya/Somalia border due to the significant risk of kidnapping and we advise against all travel within 60 kilometres of the entire border (including Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island and Garissa District).
There is extreme risk to your security in the border areas shared with Ethiopia and South Sudan and we advise against all travel within 30 kilometres of these borders. Cross-border kidnapping and armed banditry make these border areas extremely unsafe.
There is extreme risk to your security in Isiolo and Moyale in Eastern district and along the A2 Highway (Thika Road), due to sporadic civil unrest and we advise against all travel to these areas. The unrest has resulted in approximately 50 deaths and a large number of injuries in the local population. At times locals have fired shots and thrown rocks at passing vehicles.
There is high risk to your security in the high density, low income areas of Nairobi due to the high level of violent crime and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas, particularly the suburbs of Kibera, Mathare, Kasirani and Eastleigh.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya. We continue to receive reports of possible terrorist attacks against a range in interests in Kenya. Attacks could be directed against locations frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers or identifiably Western targets. Somali insurgents have publicly threatened to carry out attacks in Kenya in retaliation for military operations within Somalia conducted by Kenyan security forces. On 22 June 2012, the US Embassy in Nairobi issued an emergency message to its citizens warning it had received information of an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in Mombasa. In early April 2012, the Kenyan authorities alerted the public to a heightened threat of terrorist attacks in Nairobi and Coast province and adopted heightened security precautions in response to the threat.
New Zealanders in Kenya are advised to be security conscious at all times and follow any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities. Particular care should be taken in crowded and public areas known to be frequented by expatriates and foreigners. Additional security measures such as avoiding areas with large crowds and visiting businesses during off-peak hours should be considered.
There have been a number of recent terrorist attacks in Kenya:
Al-Qaeda has previously carried out terrorist attacks in Kenya – against a hotel in Kikambala (near Mombasa) in 2002, killing 15 people and against the US Embassy in 1998, killing 225 people and injuring over 5000 others. Further attacks cannot be ruled out.
There is an ongoing significant risk of kidnapping in Kenya, particularly in areas close to the border with Somalia. Westerners have previously been the target for kidnappers in these areas and further attacks are considered likely. New Zealanders in Kenya are advised to be vigilant about their personal security throughout the country and keep a low profile in public places.
On 13 October 2011, two Spanish doctors working in a refugee camp 80 kilometres from the Somali border were kidnapped. On 1 October 2011, a French national was kidnapped from her beachfront property on Manda Island and taken by boat to Somalia – she later died in captivity. On 11 September 2011, two British nationals were attacked at a resort north of Lamu – one was killed in the attack and the other kidnapped and held in captivity for six months. Kenya’s border with Somalia has been closed since January 2007 due to instability in Somalia.
New Zealanders in Kenya are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as even those intended as peaceful have the potential to turn violent with little warning.
Violent crime including car-jacking, home invasion and armed robbery occurs from time to time throughout Kenya. We recommend you avoid walking and travelling at night and to isolated areas and avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as cameras and jewellery. When travelling by car, it is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times, hide valuables from view and not stop to assist with vehicle breakdowns, clear debris from the road or pick up hitchhikers. Travel in remote areas should be undertaken in convoy. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery, mugging or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence.
Commercial and internet fraud is a common problem in many African countries. New Zealanders in Kenya should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams.
Piracy has been reported in the coastal waters off Kenya. Mariners are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.
General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Kenya should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Kenya are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Contact details are
Street Address: 125 Middel Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, 0181 Pretoria, South Africa
Postal Address: Private Bag x27, Brooklyn Square 0075, Pretoria, South Africa
Telephone: +27 12 435 9000 Facsimile: +27 12 435 9002
Website New Zealand High Commission Pretoria [external link]
Office Hours Mon - Fri 0800 - 1630hrs