Kenyan authorities said on Friday that
they have beefed up security ahead of next week’s cultural
festival in the coastal town of Lamu targeting to boost tourism
sector that has been worse hit due to insecurity challenges.
Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said security agents
will provide armed escort for foreign and domestic tourists
during the 17th Lamu Cultural festival to be held on Nov. 16.
Kitiyo said all private and public vehicles must be
accompanied by police because of threats presented by al-Shabaab
"As a precaution, we are advising visitors to move in a
convoy under security escort.
"We have made arrangements to ensure the festival goes
uninterrupted," he assured.
The government official also said security has been beefed up
on the island and its environs.
He added that the Boni Enclave Campaign has greatly reduced
terror threats by militants who target police and civilians and
operate from Boni Forest.
Kitiyo said hotels on the island have received bookings for
the event that highlights the Swahilis’ rich culture and
The festival takes place in the archipelago from Thursday
Sam Ikwaye, Coast Executive of the Kenya Association of
Hotelkeepers and Caterers, said they are expecting more local
and foreign tourists.
"The festival has always improved so we anticipate the
numbers will increase despite the political uncertainty that as
taken a major toll on hotels," said Ikwaye.
Lamu’s tourism was hard hit by terrorism in 2014 when travel
advisories were issued by major European source markets.
Tourism stakeholders have expressed concern that numbers will
drop significantly this year because of the "wait and see"
attitude to political affairs.
Last week, two Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in battles
with military troops in Lamu West.
Lamu Where History Lives. Swahili Cultural Heritage. Amani