UK revises Kenya travel advice after kidnapping of aid worker

Silvia Costanza Romano
UK travel advice to Kenya has been revised after Italian aid worker Silvia Costanza Romano was kidnapped.

Following the kidnapping of Italian aid worker Silvia Costanza Romano on Tuesday, the British government have updated their travel advice for Kenya.

The updated advice in the summary section reads: “The National Police Service of Kenya reported that on 20 November an armed gang attacked a trading centre in Chakama in Kilifi County, and abducted an Italian NGO worker.”

In the specific section relating to kidnapping, the UK travel advice reads:

“There is a high threat of kidnapping in Northern and Northeastern border regions, particularly in areas within 60km of the Kenya Somalia border and in coastal areas north of Pate Island. Westerners have been the target of kidnaps and further attacks in these areas are likely. Along these border areas there are also frequent incursions by Somali militants operating against Kenyan defence forces.

“A number of kidnaps have occurred in Dadaab refugee camp in north east Kenya. British aid workers and others working at or visiting Dadaab refugee camp should satisfy themselves that those arranging their stay at the camp have sufficient security arrangements in place. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

“The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

“There’s a heightened threat globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.”

The section on sources of health information before travel has also been revised and now reads:

“At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

“General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.”

For the latest travel advice for Kenya, check the UK Government website.

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