Religious leaders in Kenya have called for heightened security measures to prevent crime and terrorist attacks during Ramadan (May 5 through early June). The Organizing Secretary of Council of Imams and Preachers (CIPK) Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa appealed for Kenyan security agencies to provide adequate security for Muslims, particularly during night prayers. Increased security measures are anticipated throughout the country, particularly along the border with Somalia. According to media reports, the police issued an intelligence report in late April warning that Al-Shabaab militants crossed the border into Kenya.
Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked the village of Hareeri Hossle, near the town of Mandera (Mandera county), on Sunday, May 5. At least two police officers were wounded and a local store was looted during the assault. Additional security personnel were reportedly deployed into Mandera East following the incident. Also on Sunday, gunfire was reported near Ishakani (Lamu county) where messages threatening non-Muslims were left by suspected Al-Shabaab fighters. Further attacks by militants are possible in the near term along the border with Somalia.
Kenya remains on high alert for attacks conducted by Al-Shabaab. The group continues to carry out attacks near the porous border with Somalia as well as in coastal areas, and in the capital Nairobi, in retaliation for Kenya's participation in a multi-national force fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia since 2011. On January 15, Al-Shabaab militants carried out an operation targeting the DusitD2 complex hotel in Nairobi, in which 21 people were killed.
Ramadan is a month of reflection and increased religious observance for Muslims that concludes with Eid al-Fitr, expected to take place around June 3 to June 5. Al-Shabaab and other Islamic jihadist groups often increase the level of activity and attacks during Ramadan.
Individuals in Kenya are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments, and anticipate heightened security measures and crowded conditions.
Due to the significant terrorist threat and other security concerns, many Western governments advise against travel to a number of regions in the country, including areas bordering Somalia (i.e. parts of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Lamu counties), Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
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