Issued by U.S. Department of State
Jan 13, 2003
This Public Announcement is being updated to alert Americans to the continuing potential for terrorist actions, including kidnapping, against U.S. citizens in East Africa. This Public Announcement expires on May 5, 2003.
On November 28, there was a car bomb attack on a hotel near Mombasa, Kenya, in which 15 people were killed, and an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter plane departing Mombasa on the same day. The threat to aircraft by terrorists using shoulder-fired missiles continues in Kenya, including Nairobi. Other East African countries face similar threats. Due to the preponderance of threat information in the region, the Department believes it prudent to share this information with American citizens so they can make an informed decision in deciding whether to travel to or remain in East Africa.
The Department of State reminds Americans to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. U.S. citizens and interests abroad remain at risk of terrorist attacks by groups including but not limited to those with links to Al-Qaeda. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches and planes. However, Americans in remote areas or border regions where military or police authority is limited or non-existent could also be targets of attacks or kidnappings.
U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. Facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services to review their security posture and ensure its adequacy. On occasion, the travel of official personnel at embassies and consulates around the world is restricted, and these posts may recommend that private American citizens avoid the same areas if at all possible. Services to American citizens could be restricted if employees' movements are restricted. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens. American citizens in need of emergency assistance should telephone the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before visiting there for further information.
In addition, U.S. citizens planning to travel to East Africa should consult the Department's travel information available at the Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens overseas may contact the American Citizen Services unit of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate by telephone or fax for up-to-date information on security conditions.