Kenya raps US over ‘unfriendly’ travel warning after attack

Kenya on Sunday asked the US government to lift an advisory warning US citizens over travel to the east African country after the September 21 Nairobi mall attack, calling it "unnecessary" and "unfriendly".

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku delivered the sharp diplomatic rebuke to Washington when he updated reporters on a government investigation eight days after the assault by Islamist militants on the upmarket Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital.

Although Kenyan police assisted by US, Israeli and European experts are still poring over the partially wrecked building, Ole Lenku said the death toll from the attack still stood at 67.

Five attackers were also killed. Nine suspects were in custody over the raid, one of them arrested on Sunday, he added.

The minister declined to give any information about the suspected attackers or those arrested, saying "we do not discuss intelligence matters in public".

Ole Lenku expressed strong objections to an updated travel advisory issued by the U.S. government to its citizens urging them to "evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism" in the east African country.

"We believe issuing the travel advisory is counter-productive in the fight against global terrorism," Ole Lenku said.

"We request the United States, as a friend of Kenya, to lift the travel advisory," he added.

Kenya's government believed that no hostages were left in the building after the attack, "unless forensic evidence shows otherwise", the interior minister said.

The raid, claimed by Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, ended after a four-day siege. – Reuters

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