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Nairobi trade fair opens amid tight security

The Nairobi International Trade Fair opened its doors on Monday morning with a heavy deployment of security officers.

Security agencies have tripled the number of officers guarding the Jamhuri grounds as the shadow of the Westgate shopping mall attack looms heavily on this year’s trade fair.

A combined force of 3,100 officers, drawn from the regular police, general service unit, administration police and the army, will be safeguarding the Jamhuri grounds in the next three days.

Last year, only 1,000 police officers were deployed at the show ground.

The Agricultural Society of Kenya Deputy National Chairman, Reuben Robi, said that for the first time the Anti-Terrorism Police have been included as part of the trade fair’s security detail.

“There is no threat of attack but we are not taking chances. We want to assure the public that the police will ensure tight security at the three- day event” Mr Robi said.

“We have also ensured that everyone entering the show ground is thoroughly checked,” Mr Robi said, adding that a blade wire had been placed on top of the perimeter fence to prevent those who might want to jump into the ground.

Nairobi Police Chief Benson Kibue earlier said police were determined to ensure the security of citizens in public places.

“Our officers will be alert during the trade fair. We have deployed the highest number of police officers ever to that event,” he said.

This year’s trade Fair has attracted 506 exhibitors, up from last year’s 462. Out of the number, 69 will be foreign exhibitors.

“There will be exhibitors from Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. We will also for the first time have exhibitors from Turkey, Israel and Ghana”Mr Robi said.