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US Embassy asks American citizens to avoid Kisumu ahead of elections

The US Embassy in Kenya has cautioned its citizens who reside in the country to exercise caution when visiting Kisumu County ahead of next w...

The entrance to US embassy in Nairobi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

The US Embassy in Kenya has cautioned its citizens who reside in the country to exercise caution when visiting Kisumu County ahead of next week's General Election. In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the Embassy said that Kenya was a country known to experience pre-electoral violence during election cycles. "Election-related demonstrations and rallies regularly take place in the runup to the election and are likely to continue, at times blocking key intersections and causing traffic jams. Demonstrations may occasionally be violent, requiring police intervention. Strikes and other protest activities related to economic conditions occur regularly," the Embassy said. "Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy has imposed movement restrictions on personnel in Kisumu. The State Department reminds U.S. citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance," the Embassy further said. To that end the US Embassy has advised its citizens on what action to take for their own safety. The actions include monitoring local media for updates, avoiding crowds, avoiding demonstrations, keeping a low profile, being aware of their surroundings, being vigilant when visiting banks and ATMs and not displaying signs of wealth such as having expensive jewelry or watches and review personal security plans. American citizens have also been advised to update their travelling documents and make them easily accessible, carry proper identification cards, copy of the biography page of the US passport and a copy of the most recent Kenya Visa. The announcement was made just 24 hours after the new US ambassador to Kenya, Margaret Cushing Whitman, arrived in the country.

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