— By Domani Spero
The US Embassy in Nairobi announced that it has suspended all TDY trips to post until further notice due to the shopping mall attack this weekend and subsequent demands on embassy resources.
September 22, 2013
This message is to inform U.S. citizens that due to the ongoing security operations in Nairobi following the attack by violent extremists at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and subsequent demands on Embassy resources, the U.S. Embassy has suspended all USG temporary duty personnel (TDY) travel to post until further notice. U.S. Mission personnel have also been advised to shelter in place during the day on Sunday, avoid the Westgate Mall area, and to avoid demonstrations or large gatherings should they come upon them. Stay tuned to local media sources for further information.
A separate message urged U.S. citizens “to remain close to their residences and to shelter in place” and to “avoid the Westgate area and large gatherings.”
The American Citizen Services Unit may be reached during normal working hours at tel. +254-(0)20-363-6451, and via email at Kenya_ACS@state.gov . For after-hours emergencies, please call +254-(0)20-363-6170. The number for the U.S. Embassy switchboard is +254-(0)20-363-6000.
Secretary Kerry released a statement here: Terrorist Attack at Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya; the National Security Council also released a statement here: NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Attack in Nairobi.
The State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism program in Nairobi has an annual budget of about $8 million over the last 2 years according to the most recent OIG report. State’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program has also trained about 1,200 Kenyan personnel in a variety of prevention, investigation, and crisis management skills.
The US Mission in Kenya, a large post with a high number of interagency presence is headed by career diplomat, Robert Godec. Ambassador Godec was assigned as the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya in August 2012, following the resignation of General Scott Gration (see US Embassy Kenya: Ambassador Scott Gration Quits Over “Differences” Effective July 28). Prior to his assignment in Nairobi (see Obama Nominates Ambassador Robert Godec as Next Ambassador to Kenya), Ambassador Godec was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for the Bureau of Counterterrorism in the Department of State. From 2006 to 2009, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia.
- Before attack, Kenya’s economic future was bright (miamiherald.com)
- Kenya Westgate mall hostage standoff continues; 59 dead so far, minister says – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Kenya Police Begin Assault to End Mall Seige After 68 Die (bloomberg.com)
- Most Nairobi mall hostages reportedly rescued (huffingtonpost.com)
- Kenyan Shopping Mall Attack by Al-Shabaab Leaves 59 Dead (bloomberg.com)