Uproar as US lists Kenya as kidnappers haven

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Following the Cuban doctors abduction in Mandera last week, the United States government has listed Kenya among the global kidnapping hotspots in a new risk indicator for travel advisories.

The Department of States said that the new assessment measure was been informed by cases of “kidnapping and hostage taking by criminal and terrorist actors around the world”.

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Kenya is joined by its EAC peers Uganda and South Sudan on the list that also includes north-neighbouring Ethiopia.

Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are the only countries in the six-nation East African Community (EAC) bloc that have been spared the kidnapping risk indicator in assessing the safety of US travellers.

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The world’s largest economy periodically issues country-specific caution to its travelling citizens based on assessment of risk factors such as crime, terrorism, civil unrest, natural disasters and health.

This means that nearly half of the affected countries (16 in total) where the US citizens will get regular reports on the risk of being abducted are in Africa.

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This comes as Kenya is yet to find an Italian charity worker, Ms Silvia Constanca Romano, who was abducted in Kilifi County on November 20, 2018.

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The 2013 travel alerts reduced the flow of tourist dollars, a valuable source of foreign exchange, put pressure on the shilling and forced some hotels out of business.

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