FCO Advises Caution to Travelers Following Kenya Mall Shooting

An eyewitness video of the shooting. The owner was trapped in the mall for five hours before being rescued by police. 

At least 68 people were killed and over 150 wounded in the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack, which started on Saturday night. Approximately 15 terrorists - thought to be members of the al-Shabab Somali Islamic extremist group - are still inside the shopping center.

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In a statement, Phyllis Kandie, cabinet secretary for commerce and tourism, assured that tourists and visitors to the country would be safe.

"The tourism sector joins other Kenyans in consoling the bereaved families, including those of foreigners, who have lost their lives during the Westgate attacks," she said. "We wish to assure tourists that Kenya is peaceful and our security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that everyone is safe. Visitors are thus welcome to visit all our tourist facilities across the country which are operating normally.

"Tour operators and travel agents have confirmed that tourism activities continue uninterrupted. The government has also scaled up security in other social places across the country."

Kandie adds that the Africa Hotel and Investment Forum and Eco Tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will continue this week in Nairobi.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has included mention of the Westgate attack in its travel warning advisories to warn Britons to avoid the Westgate area.

"We advise British nationals to avoid the area and exercise extreme caution," it said. "Concerned British nationals are advised to contact the FCO helpline on +44 (0)20 7008 0000 and to keep monitoring travel advice."

It warned against all but essential travel to the Kenya-Somali border and low-income areas of Nairobi, such as townships and slum areas.

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