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US Embassy defends Kisumu travel alerts

The United States (US) has defended the move to issue its personnel with travel alerts to Kisumu during the electioneering period.

Speaking in Kisumu on Tuesday, Margaret ‘Meg’ Whiteman, the US Ambassador to Kenya, said all the formal procedures were followed when the alerts were issued.

She further suggested more alerts will be issued in the future if need be.

“Kisumu is a beautiful city and host to numerous U.S. investments, American businesses, U.S. citizens & embassy programs,” she told journalists at a press briefing attended by governor Anyang Nyong’o.

Days before the August polls, the US embassy in Nairobi warned its staff from visiting Kisumu and suggested election-related demonstrations were likely to take place.

The embassy also told its personnel to monitor local media for updates, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile and be aware of their surroundings.

“Review your personal security plans. Have travel documents up to date and easily accessible. Carry proper identification, including a copy of the bio-page of your U.S. passport with a copy of a current Kenyan visa,” read part of it’s statement.

The circular brought mixed reactions with a section of Kenyans on social media suggesting it had profiled the lakeside city.

“I want to assure those traveling to Kisumu that our people are very peaceful and looking forward to welcome you. Enjoy our beautiful sunset city,” Nyong’o responded.