US mulls reducing Nairobi embassy staff

The embassy cited information about potential terrorist threats aimed at both Kenyans and the international community

The embassy cited information about potential terrorist threats aimed at both Kenyans and the international community

NAIROBI - The United States said Saturday it was considering reducing the size of Nairobi embassy staff following a spate of terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by the Somali Al-Shabab militant group.

"Unfortunately the U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at both Kenyans and the international community," U. S. Ambassador Robert Godec said in a press statement.

"The embassy is continuously reviewing and updating its security measures and expects to take additional steps in the coming days to include on U.S. staffing," he added.

Ambassador Godec did not disclose when the rare reduction might take place or the number of staff to be affected.

Suspected terrorists have recently launched a series of attacks on Nairobi, the Indian Ocean coastal city of Mombasa and parts of the north-eastern region close to the border with troubled Somalia.

On Friday, at least twelve people were killed and more than 80 others injured in an attack on Gikomba market on the eastern side of Nairobi.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to those affected in the attack," said the American envoy.

"This is the latest in a series of despicable and cowardly attacks on innocent civilians in Kenya, from the capital to the coast," he added.

Friday's attack was swiftly followed by the departure from Mombasa of more than 300 tourists who responded to travel advisories issued by Western countries warning their citizens to leave Kenya due to increased attacks.

In September, militants attacked Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, leaving scores of people killed.

In 1998, 224 people, including 12 Americans, were killed and thousands wounded in a bombing attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.

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