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Monday, October 03, 2005

Terrorism cost: Port visit cancelled

Reported here, a cruise ship with 600 university students embarked, cancels a port visit to Kenya because of a terrorism threat.
The state department alert, a re-issuance of an earlier advisory not set to have expired until late December, warned US citizens to the threat of terrorist attacks throughout East Africa and a surge in piracy along the coast of lawless Somalia.

Although the language was nearly identical to that in earlier warnings - advising Americans that al-Qaeda followers and other extremists are active in East Africa - it added commercial shipping to the list of potential terrorist targets.

"Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings or targeting maritime vessels," it said, adding that US citizens should review "carefully" any plans to travel to East Africa.

East Africa has been the site of several al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attacks over the past seven years, including the near simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998.

Then in November 2002, al-Qaeda-affiliated attackers bombed an Israeli-owned resort hotel near the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and unsuccessfully attempted to shoot down an Israeli airliner there with rockets on the same day.
The loss, of course, is to the education of the students and to the local economy where the ship would have visited. The US State Department warning reads, in part:
September 23, 2005
This Public Announcement is being reissued to remind Americans of the continuing potential for terrorist actions against U.S. citizens in East Africa, particularly along the East African coast, and to note the dangers of maritime piracy near the Horn of Africa and the southern Red Sea near Yemen. This supersedes the Public Announcement of July 01, 2005, and expires on December 30, 2005.

Supporters of Al-Qaida and other extremists are active in East Africa. Americans considering travel to the region and those already there should review their plans carefully, remain vigilant with regard to their personal security, and exercise caution. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings or targeting maritime vessels. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, American commercial interests, western-oriented shopping centers, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, and beaches. In particular, terrorists may target civil aviation and seaports. Americans in remote areas or border regions where military or police authority is limited or non-existent could also become targets.

Americans considering seaborne travel near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been several incidents of armed attacks and robberies at sea by unknown pirates in the last year. When transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea near Yemen, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys, and maintain good communications contact at all times.
You can find it here.

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