UN Gigiri in ‘lock-down’ over terrorism


THE United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) has all but closed down over rising terror threats thought to be coming from the Al Shabaab terror group. The complex, the only one of its kind in the developing world, is now closed to visitors and only staffers will be allowed in.

UNON director general Sahle-Work Zewde introduced new security measures which will also see staffers work in shifts in the face of the prevailing security situation in the country.

The measures were introduced following the twin blasts at the busy Gikomba market on Friday. They take effect immediately. “The UN is not immune from these cowardly acts and we remain concerned about your safety and that of your family,” Zewde said.

The UN Petrol Station has been closed down and guided tours inside the complex suspended. Staff have been asked to make alternative arrangements to fuel their cars.

The UN Recreation Centre and Commissary, which have been open to UN staff and members, have been closed to all but staffers. “Visitors will not be allowed, and access will only be granted to those with a valid UN Identification Card, duly programmed for the pedestrian turnstiles within the UNON complex,” the email said.

To access the complex, one must now strictly have official business with the agency. All deliveries to the complex during the day have been canceled. They must now be delivered after working hours and between1800 hours and 2200 hours.

The deliveries must be announced beforehand and the registration number and names of the driver provided to the Security and Safety Service in advance. Bosses have been required to work out flexible work schedules for their staff.

“These arrangements include staggered working hours, telecommuting and compressed work week. This will, inter alia, reduce the congestion along UN Avenue,” the communication says.

Zewde confessed to her staff that the threat of terrorism remains “a real concern” and a “particularly difficult challenge to manage”. She regretted that Kenya has been “a consistent target” of terrorist groups over the last several months. She said the UN is not immune from the attacks and that is why she was taking the measures, which are temporary but take effect immediately.

“Please note that while we realize these measures are an inconvenience to you and your family, they are being taken solely with your safety in mind,” she said. She hoped that the complex would return to normal as soon as possible.

The complex neighbours the US embassy, which has been placed on high anti-terror alert. Britain has issued travel advisories against Kenya over terror. Airlines have been evacuating British tourists from Mombasa since last week. The government has criticized such moves, saying they only serve to embolden terrorists.

– the-star.co.ke

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