Australia Raises Alert For Possible Terror Threat In Nairobi; Citizens Urged To Reconsider Travel To Kenya

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A passenger walks past a Qantas Airways emblem at the Sydney International Airport terminal July 18, 2014.
IN PHOTO: A passenger walks past a Qantas Airways emblem at the Sydney International Airport terminal July 18, 2014. Reuters/David Gray

The Australian government has warned of a possible terrorist attack against civilians in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Australia’s diplomatic office warned travellers to avoid areas in the city with protests and political rallies.

Australia’s advisory was issued two days after the United States released a similar warning for Uganda, which is near Kenya. According to the statement of the Australian High Commission, current information points to potential terrorist attacks in Nairobi’s crowded areas “in the near future.”

The Australian government did not indicate the source of the threat. Sputnik News reports that the al-Shabaab terror group in neighbouring Somalia may be a cause for concern. In 2013, the terrorist group attacked a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital that resulted in 67 people dead including one Australian.

Australia has urged its citizens in Kenya to “exercise a high degree of caution” and postpone or reconsider going to Nairobi and Mombasa. Authorities in Kenya are in a state of high alert. The Australian government has encouraged citizens to monitor the media for related news or security risks.

In a separate statement, U.S. officials have warned of a possible terror attack in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. “The U.S. Embassy has received information of possible terrorist threats to locations where Westerners, including U.S. citizens, congregate in Kampala, and that an attack may take place soon,” read the statement. Uganda is a known ally of the U.S. in East Africa, reports New York Times.

Australia is one of the countries that tightened its counter-terrorism laws particularly in border security. Counter-terrorism officials stop more than 400 people a day at airports in the country in an effort to detect potential ISIS fighters from leaving Australia, reports SMH.

The Border Force Counter-Terrorism Unit conducted 75,906 real-time assessments in eight airports between August and February, according to a spokesman of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Border authorities have averted several planned attacks by extremists who wanted to leave the country but could not because their passports were cancelled. Since June 2013, the Australian government has cancelled more than 100 passports.

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