The United States has issued a warning to its citizens and other Westerners living in Kenya that they can be targeted by extremists and urged them to be vigilant.
“The US Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for heightened vigilance throughout Kenya, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship,” the statement warned.
The government of UK has also warned its citizens in Nairobi to avoid areas near Somali-Kenya border and parts of the coastal region.
The warning comes weeks after a deadly attack claimed by al-Shabab on an upmarket hotel in the capital, Nairobi, left at least 21 people dead.
Police said following the attack, the terrorists were shot dead too.
The dead included Kenyans and a Briton and a US citizen. The US embassy said targets could include several parts of the country like Nairobi, Naivasha, Nanyuki, all popular with foreign tourists.
Following the attack, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said authorities would “pursue relentlessly” those allegedly involved in the funding, planning and execution of the recent attack.
Al-Shabab – the Somalia-based Islamic extremist group that is allied to al-Qaeda – has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Kenya in recent past. Terrorists target hotels, bars, restaurants, offices and banks.
In 2013, fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked group attacked Westgate, an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, killing more than 70 people.
Kenya has troops in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).
Al-shabaab used to control most major cities and towns in southern and central Somalia but AMISOM including Ugandan troops pushed the terrorists out of those areas.
Al-shabaab, the Somalia-based group, founded in 2006, wants to impose a strict version of Islamic law and claims to be fighting to overthrow what the terror group refers to as a Western-backed government in Somalia.