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Foreign Office Kenya warning

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3 October 2011 by Luke McCormick

The Foreign Office has changed its travel advice for coastal areas of Kenya near Somalia, following two attacks on westerners.

The Foreign Office now advises against all but essential travel to within 150km (previously 60km) of the Kenya-Somalia border, including the coastal strip north of Pate Island towards Somali waters, and to low-income areas of Nairobi, including all township or slum areas.

The Foreign Office said in a statement: "We now advise against all but essential travel to coastal areas within 150km of the Somali border, following two attacks by armed gangs in small boats against beach resorts in the Lamu area on 11 September and 01 October 2011.

"Both attacks were on beachfront properties, with two Westerners kidnapped and one murdered. Beachfront accommodation in that area and boats off the coast are vulnerable.

"The advice is kept under constant review in light of the situation on the ground."

The Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel within 60km of the Somali border inland from the coastal strip.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said there were ‘possible copycat kidnappings' taking place after the kidnapping of a French national by armed Somali bandits on the northern island of Manda.

It comes a month after a British woman was kidnapped and her husband killed in Kiwayu.

Mr Hague told Sky: "Clearly, we are worried about the situation there ... but now we are seeing possibly copycat kidnappings taking place. That is very alarming.

"It is sad, and we are working with the Kenyan authorities and urging them to improve security in any way they can."

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