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Over 200 Secret Service agents in Nairobi for Obama visit

At least 200 Secret Service agents have arrived in the country and two armoured vehicles brought ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit in July.

The team will also arrange for the security of two senior officials expected in the country next week.

The vehicles are kept at the US Embassy in Gigiri while most of the officers are in Nairobi though another team has been sent to Kisumu.

Reports indicate that Kenya was declared relatively safe before the White House announced President Obama’s visit.

However, the pre-announcement assessment recommended an increased campaign against terror locally and in neighbouring Somali.

As a result, the US counter-terrorism officers enhanced their focus in the East African region, more so on Somali.

SECRETARY OF STATE TO VISIT

The State Department and the Kenyan government on Tuesday said that adequate arrangements had also been made for the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will be in the country on May 3.

Mr Kerry will be in the country for talks on a wide range of topics with a variety of Kenyan leaders.

A key aim of the top US diplomat’s two-day visit will be “to reinforce the importance of our strong bilateral relationship,” the State Department said.

The meetings will focus on security cooperation between the US and Kenya, “particularly in light of the recent tragic attack at Garissa University College.”

Refugee assistance, trade and biodiversity will also be on the agenda of talks with business leaders, opposition politicians, humanitarian aid workers and civil society representatives, as well as with government ministers, the State Department said.

“This visit will focus on our common goals, including accelerating economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions and improving regional security,” the US added.

The secret service rules require that its officers are responsible for “proximate cover” security.

BULLETPROOF ENCLOSURE

 

Consequently, armed US Secret Service agents will be present inside the bulletproof enclosure that will protect President Barack Obama and his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He is expected to travel in Nairobi in his own ultra-secure armoured Cadillac limousine, called the “Beast.”

US agencies have insisted that their president travel in his own official vehicle, and only the US president can change that decision.

President Obama will fly in using Air Force One, which is a highly customized Boeing 747-200B, and will land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The US security satellites will watch over at least four major roads in the city, including State House, Limuru and Mombasa roads.

An airborne radar system will be deployed to detect air threats in no-fly zones. The system is designed to detect aircraft from very long ranges.

Though residents of Nairobi and its environs will be inconvenienced due to closure of roads and traffic lockdown, the government has not addressed the issue.

Details about areas where access would be limited are also yet to be released.

On Thursday, former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, will also visit Kenya for a tour of projects funded by the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.

The two will arrive from Tanzania and will leave the country on May 2.