NAIROBI (Reuters) - Militants may be planning attacks against crowded places in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Australian government said in a travel alert on Friday, without naming any group it suspected might opt for violence.
The Kenyan government was not immediately available for comment but has criticized such alerts in the past, saying they hurt Kenya’s vital tourism industry and play into the hands of those behind the gun and grenade assaults.
The Australian travel advisory came days after a warning by the U.S. Embassy in Uganda that it had information of “possible terrorist threats” to locations frequented by Westerners in Kampala, the capital of the east African nation.
“Current information suggests that terrorists may be planning attacks against crowded locations in Nairobi in the near future,” said an alert on Smart Traveller, the Australian government’s travel advice website.
There was no immediate indication of other embassies changing their cautionary notices. Britain and the United States are among those that already urge their citizens to be vigilant and avoid some areas in the region.
More than 200 people have been killed in Kenya over the past two years in attacks by Somali al Shabaab militants, who say the killings are punishment for Kenya sending troops to Somalia to fight the group alongside African peacekeepers.
A 2013 al Shabaab attack on a crowded shopping mall in Nairobi saw 67 people killed during a four-day siege.
“We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall, and to reconsider their need to travel to Nairobi and Mombasa,” the Australian travel advice added.
Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Edmund Blair and Tom Heneghan