Posted: 1:15 am ET
There was a shooting incident outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya on October 27 after a knife-wielding assailant attacked an armed Kenyan police officer guarding an entrance to the embassy. This is one more reminder that local law enforcement employed by host countries and local embassy guards are in the front line of protecting our missions overseas. The US Embassy said that no Embassy personnel were involved and no U.S. citizens are known to have been affected by this incident. The Embassy closed to the public on October 28 for routine consular services but emergency consular services for U.S. citizens remained available. In its Security Message to U.S. citizens, Embassy Nairobi writes, “We are grateful for the ongoing protection provided by the Kenyan police. We are cooperating with Kenyan authorities on the investigation of the incident on Thursday, October 27 and refer all questions about the investigation to them. We will be open to the public for normal operations on Monday, October 31, 2016.”
A quick look at the State Department’s Office of Allowances website indicates that Kenya had zero danger pay in September 2013, when the Westgate mall attack occurred. The website indicates that Kenya has been designated as a 15% danger differential post since June 29, 2014 until October 30, 2016 when the latest data is available online.
However, we understand that Embassy Nairobi has recently been downgraded in threat designation for terrorism which eliminates danger pay. We were reminded that it took 9 months after the Westgate Shopping Mall Attack before any danger pay differential kicked in for U.S. Embassy Nairobi; and this happened while reportedly about a third of the country including several neighborhoods in Nairobi remain red no-go zones for employees posted in Kenya. The allowances website does not reflect the downgraded status as of yet so we’ll have to wait and see what happens to the mid-November update.
The sad reality is these attacks could happen anywhere. There were 1,475 attacks in 2016 alone involving 12,897 fatalities around the world.