US President Barack Obama visit felt on land, sea and air
The US navy is on standby near the Kenyan waters in the Indian Ocean, while the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service are in charge of the border with Somalia and internal security respectively.
The airspace above Kenya and Somalia is being heavily monitored by the US military whose specially adapted drones flying out of Camp Lemonnier, the US Naval Expeditionary Base in Djibouti, regularly provide logistical air support to the African Union Mission troops fighting Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.
A high-tech US spy plane is already flying unseen thousands of feet above the city, supplying streams of communication for monitoring by the US National Security Agency, while decoys of the official US presidential limousine, known as ‘The Beast’, and support vehicles were seen being fuelled at a Shell petrol station in Nairobi’s Westlands.
Kenya’s police have scrambled 10,000 officers to be on duty in Nairobi, securing venues and controlling crowds and traffic alongside the US security personnel and Secret Service agents guarding the US leader.
“We wish to confirm that all security arrangements are in place. The security arrangements put in place for the summit will affect normal life in some parts of the city and we therefore call on the public to cooperate with the police to give the event and our visitors a conducive and homely environment,” Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett said last evening.
Today, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and US Ambassador Robert Godec will brief the media at Harambee House ahead of tomorrow evening’s arrival of President Obama.
As a sign of the tight security, access to venues where the US leader is expected is restricted by security personnel who were turning away unauthorised persons yesterday.
Final touches were going on at the venues with the guards and other workers giving the stock response to queries: “Please speak to the US Embassy.”
To access the indoor arena at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani on the Thika highway, where President Obama will give a speech, one needs special accreditation from the US Embassy. “There is a lot of cleaning-up going on inside, including installation of new seats and other activities, but I cannot allow you in,” said a guard with finality.
“You know the sensitivity of the visit is such that we cannot allow you inside,” said another security official at Kasarani.
The road leading to the UN complex in Gigiri is almost impenetrable, with US marines and security officials thoroughly screening all visitors.