UK package holiday operator Thomson is evacuating all of its customers from Kenya after Britain, France, the US and Australia issued warnings about travel to the country following a number of terrorist-related attacks.
The travel agency is reported to have around 400 customers in Kenya, including those in coastal resort ofMombasa and on safari.
The company said it also cancelling all flights to Mombasa until the end of October.
The UK Foreign Office has warned against all non-essential travel to Mombasa Island, on which part of the city of Mombasa lies.
Holidaymakers are also being advised to avoid the surrounding area, but not including the tourist areas of Diani or Moi international airport which serves the city.
Explaining the threat, the advice reads: “There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists linked to al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.
“There has been a spate of small-scale grenade, bomb and armed attacks in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Mombasa, and North Eastern Province.
“You should take care in public places where people gather, and exercise a heightened level of vigilance.”
The US cited hotels, nightclubs and shopping centres in Mombasa as possible targets.
Australia urged its citizens to reconsider trips toMombasaand the capital Nairobi “due to the high threat of terrorist attack and high level of crime”.
British holidaymakerMatilda Evan at Moiinternational airportsaid: “Six days of my holiday have gone to waste just like that. But again, when your government tells you to leave for security reasons, what else can do you do?”
She was in Kenya for a third time, travelling with a group of eight friends – all of whom were going back.
But the Kenyan authorities, which have pledged to beef up security after the attacks, criticised the warnings issued by foreign governments and insisted visitors were safe.
Karanja Kibicho, principal secretary at Kenya’s foreign affairs department, said the advisories were “obviously unfriendly acts”.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njokaadded: “The threats are perpetual, we are at war. But we have not received any specific threat on the hotels.”
Explosions in Nairobi andMombasa on May 3 and 4, which Kenya blames onal Shabaab, left seven people dead.
The Islamist movement killed at least 67 people in a gun and grenade raid on a Nairobi shopping mall last September, claiming it as revenge for attacks on its fighters by Kenyan troops in Somalia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the deadly attacks had left the country’s tourism industry “on its knees”.
16 May 2014 | 5:50 am – Source: orange.co.uk