Reuters - Video

Edition: US | UK | IN | CN | JP

Video

Kenya tourism ''on knees'' amid violence

Friday, May 16, 2014 - 02:27

May 16 - As the death toll mounts from a wave of militant violence, Kenya's Somali community says it's being unfairly targetted in a security crackdown - and its tourism industry takes another hit as tourists are advised to leave. David Pollard reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

A crowded market place in Nairobi - and what might be an escalating battle with the Somali militant group the government has blamed for such attacks in the past: al Shabaab. Even as the first reports emerged, the death toll from two bomb blasts was running into double figures. Prompting an appeal from President Kenyatta for unity. SOUNDBITE (English) KENYAN PRESIDENT, UHURU KENYATTA, SAYING: "This is our battle together and we must work together to win it." Foreign tourists had already begun leaving Kenya before the latest violence - heading home on planes sent by their tour operators. Some cancelling flights to Mombasa until November. SOUNDBITE (English) BRITISH TOURIST, JUDY SHARP, SAYING: "The Kenyan people are absolutely brilliant and it is a such a shame that we have to cut our holiday short because of other people. We feel, we feel for the people we have left at the hotel who work there. We are so sad for them." Kenya's tourism industry is ''on its knees'' according to its president. Dozens of people are thought to have died in a string of gun and bomb attacks this month alone - thought to be the work of the same group that massacred 67 in a Nairobi shopping centre last September. Amid fears the violence could spread, visitor numbers were already down 16 percent last year. Now, Britain, France, the US and Australia are telling their nationals to avoid the east African country - but Kenya says those warnings are ''unfriendly acts'' and that tourists are safe. Here too there's anger. Somali activists are mounting a Twitter campaign against a recent security crackdown, its slogan: ''I am not a terrorist''. Hundreds of illegal immigrants have been deported - hundreds of others rounded up and taken to a Nairobi stadium for screening. Security analyst Dennis Nthumbi. SOUNDBITE (English) DENNIS NTHUMBI, SECURITY ANALYST, SAYING: "I don't think there is anybody fighting us from the borders whoever it is basically fighting us from within and we seriously need to clean house." But campaign leader Hamaz Egal says the Somali community is being singled out. SOUNDBITE (English) HAMZA EGAL, ACTIVIST, SAYING: "As soon as the crackdown had started it seemed that there was only one side of the story being portrayed, everyone was being shown as a security risk or as a terrorist and that is not the case.'' As part of the crackdown, the government has ordered Somali refugees to move from cities to camps close to the Somali border. The rights group, Human Rights Watch, has asked for that plan to be reconsidered - while the activists are pleading with the government to work with Somalis in tackling security, not against them.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Kenya tourism ''on knees'' amid violence

Friday, May 16, 2014 - 02:27