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U.S. cautions Americans ahead of Kenya elections set for August

A general view of Nairobi, Kenya November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Noor Khamis/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Thursday cautioned Americans living in or traveling to Kenya about possible rallies or protests that could turn violent, ahead of general elections slated for Aug. 8.

“Rallies, demonstrations, and protests may occur with little notice and even those intended to be peaceful can escalate into violence,” the State Department said in a travel alert. “As with all large events, there is also the opportunity for criminal elements or terrorists to target participants and visitors.”

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said in February that mass protests were possible if the August elections were rigged. After a disputed poll in 2007, more than 1,200 people were killed in weeks of fighting after political protests turned into ethnic clashes, but 2013 elections passed relatively peacefully.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati