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Kenya fears for future of Lamu tourism

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Kenya fears for future of Lamu tourism


Amid the calm and the gently lapping waters of the Indian ocean there is a disquiet running through the tourist havens along the northern Kenyan coast.

With the latest kidnapping of an elderly French tourist there are fears tourism, so vital for the local and national economy, could crash again, like after the violent presidential elections of 2007, putting people out of work.

Three weeks ago a Briton was killed and his wife abducted. Now this. Lamu island and the surrounding area has attracted the rich and famous. Will they still come if they fear for their lives?

“But now we see where the mistake is. As I said earlier, to have a navy without a boat is like ahving a navy that is not around. The same thing for the police. When we called them at night they were trying to get a boat from Peponi or something like that. They have a boat, but maybe no petrol, or maybe no captain, so these things they have to work harder on,” says tour operator Abdul Alim.

Fighters from Somalia are increasingly active along or even over the Kenyan border, and pirates, stymied at sea by foreign navies, are looking for easy pickings elsewhere. Kenya will have to find a solution fast to restore confidence.

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