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Americans in East Africa Warned of Kidnapping Risk

January 05, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Americans in East Africa face the threat of kidnapping and other risks, the U.S. warned Saturday.

Updating a Dec. 24 announcement, the State Department added kidnapping to a warning on the "continuing potential for terrorist actions" against Americans in the region.

The warning already included the possibility that shoulder-launched missiles could be used to attack aircraft, much like an unsuccessful attempt in Kenya in November.

Suicide bombers killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis at an Israeli-owned resort near Mombasa on Nov. 28, moments after assailants fired missiles at an Israeli airliner taking off nearby. The aircraft was not hit.

"The threat to aircraft by terrorists using shoulder-fired missiles continues in Kenya," the department said. "Other East African countries face similar threats."

The department reiterated that public places might more likely be targets than official U.S. facilities and said even Americans in remote areas were at risk.

"Americans in remote areas or border regions where military or police authority is limited or nonexistent could also be targets of attacks or kidnappings," it said.

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