Is the Security Alert Circulating on Whatsapp true?

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Fears of a possible terror attack in Nairobi have resurfaced in the social media groups of most Kenyan users as illustrated by the following texts that have been making the rounds over the last few days:

According to the claims, people should’ve avoided non-essential flights to and/or from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi, and major hotels until yesterday (Wednesday, March 4, 2020).

Background

On the 26th February 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration, the civil aviation regulator in the United States of America, issued an alert advising exercise of caution when flying into, out of, within or over the territory and airspace of Kenya citing the cross-border extremist/militant atrocities originating in Somalia as a possible cause for alarm.

This prompted the US Embassy to issue a level 2 advisory, (similar to another one issued on April 9, 2019), to Americans travelling to Kenya and those already in the country. The alert advised US citizens to avoid the Kenya-Somalia border, some coastal areas, and some areas of Turkana County due to anticipated crime, terrorism and kidnapping activities within the Kenyan border.

A similar alert has also been issued by the government of Canada advising its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya due to the threat of terrorism and high crime rate.

Verification

A search on SRMO does not yield anything organizational but pictorial images of people from the Maasai community.

A similar search on Israel security outings in Kenya does not yield to anything and the only “fes” that comes up is Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung a German political foundation. It may be this FES that is referenced in the circulating messages given its profile as an international organization based in the country.

Verdict

Yes, there was a security alert which was issued by the US Embassy in Kenya but there was no follow up on the same by an Israeli outfit based in Kenya. As such, the claims are FALSE.

 

Additional input from Peris Gachahi

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John Maina

John is a sports and data journalist who believes in truth as the only editorial policy. Follow John on Twitter @itsUnderscore.