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Cablegate: Country Clearance Granted for Codel Nelson

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #1480/01 1690858
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170858Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6111

UNCLAS NAIROBI 001480

CODEL

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E R MEYERS, AF/RSA K MOODY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN KE
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE GRANTED FOR CODEL NELSON
(JUNE 28-JULY 1, 2008)

REF: SECSTATE 62146

1. Embassy Nairobi grants country clearance and welcomes CODEL
Nelson. Country clearance is granted subject to the actual security
situation at the time of proposed travel. The embassy switchboard
number is 254-20-363-6000 and the after-hours number is
254-20-363-6170. Control officer is Lorraine Wager, work
International Voice Gateway (IVG) telephone number 8-871-6217, cell
phone 254-734-600-402, email WagerLT@state.gov. Hotel accommodation
has been arranged at the Intercontinental hotel at a cost of US$199
inclusive of breakfast and taxes. The hotel telephone number is
254-20-32-00-000, and the hotel facsimile number is 254-20-32-00-030.
Ms. Wager will meet the CODEL on arrival with Embassy motor pool
transport to the hotel.

2. Security assessment:

- There is currently a travel warning in effect for Kenya, which
states that "American Citizens should evaluate their personal
security in light of continuing terrorist threats and the limited
ability of the Kenyan authorities to detect and deter such acts."
The U.S. Government continues to receive indications of terrorist
threats in the region aimed at American and western interests,
including civil aviation, and that the Kenyan government might not be
able to prevent such attacks.

- Nairobi is designated a critical threat post for transnational
threat and crime by the Department of State. The RSO is required to
brief all TDY visitors staying more than two weeks are required to
attend a security briefing by the RSO at the regularly scheduled
security briefing at 9:00 a.m. on Thursdays. Personnel on official
USG business are required to stay in RSO approved hotels. You may
obtain the list from your sponsoring office.

- Violent crime in Nairobi is sharply rising. Carjacking, in order
to commit an armed robbery, is the most common form of crime in
Nairobi. In virtually every instance, carjackers use weapons to rob
and carjack their victims. Most victims, if they are completely
cooperative, are usually released unharmed, with their vehicles.
However, victims are sometimes tied up and put in the back seat or
trunk of their own car. Criminals who commit these crimes will not
hesitate to shoot a victim who is the least bit uncooperative, or may
appear to hesitate before complying with their assailant. The RSO
recommends that if confronted with a criminal incident, victims
acquiesce immediately and quietly. Put your hands where they can be
seen and avert your eyes. Though this does not guarantee your
personal safety it is more likely you will survive the incident.

- Street crime is particularly bad in downtown Nairobi and Uhuru Park
and mission personnel are strongly urged to avoid the downtown area
after dark. Throughout the country reports of group attacks and
muggings are on the rise. Pickpockets and thieves carry out "snatch
and run" crimes on city streets and near crowds. Large public
functions are particularly vulnerable to rings of organized thieves.
Visitors have found it safer not to carry valuables, but rather to
store them in hotel safety deposit boxes or in room safes. The RSO
recommends leaving all important documents (passports, plane tickets,
etc.) in a hotel safe and not wearing any jewelry on the street. In
addition, visitors should avoid hanging a camera around their necks,
handbags on the backs of chairs, carrying a protruding wallet, and
carrying or showing large amounts of money in public.

- While traveling in vehicles, doors should be kept locked and
windows rolled up. Highway bandits are active on roads leading to
the border areas and some areas in the northeastern portion of the
country require special RSO approval prior to travel.

- The Government of Kenya (and the Mission firearms policy) prohibit
the importing and carrying of firearms except for U.S. law
enforcement officers engaged in protective security or investigative
duties.

3. Climate: Weather conditions in Nairobi are sunny and mild
year-round with daily temperatures ranging between 50 and 80 degrees
Fahrenheit. In April and May, it rains frequently and daytime
temperatures are lower. From June through September, dry, but often
cloudy weather persists with cool nights. From October through
November there is occasional rain, but most days are sunny and warm.

4. Health: Due to the high altitude, Nairobi is not a malarial area
and malaria prophylaxis is not needed; but the risk of malaria
outside Nairobi is significant. Therefore, if you are planning to
travel outside Nairobi, particularly to areas below 3,500 feet
elevation, it is advisable to begin using oral malarial medication
before arrival and for four weeks following departure. In addition,
every effort should be made to use insect repellents, proper
clothing, and barriers which discourage/prevent mosquito bites.
Travelers should also carry immunization records with valid yellow
fever immunization as well as being current with other inoculations.

The embassy medical unit advises that local tap water is not potable.
Bottled water is safe to drink and can be purchased in local hotels,
restaurants and grocery stores. Individuals with sickle cell trait
should carefully consider the altitude of this post. Short-term
(TDY) assignments carry an added risk because of the lack of time for
acclimatization. Dehydration and stress from exercise or illness
compound the basic risks of high altitude. For more information
about sickle cell trait, contact your health unit or the medical
clearances section of the Office of Medical Services.

5. Money matters:

- Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and restaurants,
with VISA and Mastercard being the cards of choice.

- The current rate of exchange is approximately 61 shillings
to the US dollar.

6. Entry requirements: A visa to enter Kenya is mandatory. This
applies to U.S. citizens arriving for any purpose and regardless of
type of passport. Travelers may obtain a visa in advance at a Kenyan
embassy or consulate. Alternatively, a visa can be obtained at the
airport for a voucherable charge of 50 U.S. dollars, but lines may be
long and processing time slow. Evidence of yellow fever immunization
is usually requested upon entry to Kenya.

SLUTZ

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