Kenya concerns closure of British consulate in Mombasa: official

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

NAIROBI–The Kenyan government on Saturday dismissed security fears in the coastal city of Mombasa after the British government closed its honorary consulate office in the tourism resort city on Friday. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed also allayed any fears of an imminent terror attack at the coastal city following early this week’s murder of prominent cleric Mohamed Idriss in Mombasa.

“The UK is our major partner and the closure of their consulate in Mombasa is of course a matter of concern,” Mohamed told journalists in Nairobi. “The closure of UK Consulate does not necessarily confirm there are security lapses in the country.

Infact, Kenya is not isolation since the UK has closed so many consulates in other parts of the world,” she said. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said closed the consulate on Friday and said it would provide normal consular assistance to its nationals through the Nairobi office.

Increased grenade and terror attacks in the coastal city of Mombasa and Nairobi prompted Britain to issue fresh travel advice on May 14 to its nationals visiting Nairobi and the tourism resort city especially in areas near the border with Somalia. But Mohamed said the government has put in place measures to pre-empt any terror attacks, saying the government has invested and continues to invest heavily on the security of both its citizens and foreigners within the nation’s territory.

She said that the British government had assured her the closure was temporary and that normal operations at the Mombasa consulate office would soon resume. The British government was the first to issue travel advisories warning its citizens not to visit the coastal beaches, Nairobi and the north-eastern region. France, Australia and the United States followed with updated advisories.