Dutch embassy in Kenya warns of attack against foreigners

NAIROBI Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:00am EDT

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Dutch embassy in Kenya has warned of a possible attack against foreigners, shortly after police in the east African country discovered a large quantity of explosives on a bus in the capital Nairobi.

Kenya has seen a series of grenade and gun attacks since October 2011, when its troops went into neighboring Somalia in pursuit of al Qaeda-linked insurgents it blames for kidnapping security personnel and Western tourists from its territory.

Kenyan police said on Wednesday they had discovered 403 rolls of ammonium nitrate explosives inside boxes apparently containing books on a bus in Nairobi, but had few details about who was behind the parcels.

Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said some embassies had been spooked by Wednesday's discovery, but he was adamant that there was no threat to foreigners in Kenya.

"The country is safe, there is nothing to worry about," he said on Friday. "The government is in control."

The Dutch embassy issued a security warning on Thursday evening advising its residents to stay away from places where foreigners congregate. It said it had received indications that an attack could take place on Thursday or Friday.

"We advise you throughout Kenya to be extra vigilant and to avoid such places," the embassy said.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy in Nairobi confirmed the warning was sent to Dutch citizens living in Kenya, but could not provide any extra information.

Past attacks in Nairobi, on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast and regions bordering Somalia, have rattled investors and tourists in east Africa's biggest economy.

(Reporting By Drazen Jorgic; Editing by George Obulutsa and Mike Collett-White)

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