Roadblocks, security operations mounted in major towns ahead of New Year festivities


Police checkSecurity was Thursday stepped up in major Kenyan towns ahead of New Year celebrations, with officials wary of possible terror plots.

Police bosses said they had increased roadblocks on major roads as part of efforts to ensure safety.

“We have increased roadblocks and the number of officers patrolling as we usher in the New Year. We have major events and they will go on as scheduled,” said Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome.

The move by the security agencies to increase security came in the wake of terror threats in other parts of the world.

For instance, New Year fireworks and festivities were cancelled in the Belgian capital Brussels because of a terror alert.

Extra measures were also put in place in cities including Paris, London, Berlin, Ankara and Moscow.

In Nairobi, police said they would not cancel any event but would increase operations even as they urged for public cooperation to address insecurity menace.

“We talked to the organisers of the events and agreed on the way forward. They will all cooperate,” said Koome.

Other police chiefs in major towns told The Standard they had also increased security operations over the threats.

Koome made the remarks as police restricted use of fireworks without prior authorisation.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet told individuals, hoteliers and other establishments that intend to set off fireworks as part of the celebrations to first seek clearance from relevant authorities.

“We wish to advise that no one is allowed to set off any manner of fireworks without the necessary authorisation from the Ministry of Mining which will in turn alert the nearest police station or camp,” Boinnet said.

He said the directive is as a result of elevated threat of terrorism and therefore security officers need to know when and where to expect celebratory fireworks.

Security agencies say terror threats are still rife in the country and hence need for continued vigilance. There are fears some terror groups may take advantage of the fireworks to launch attacks. This may hinder response and action from emergency services.

Many people usually use fireworks to celebrate the New Year and the directive means there would be restriction but it may not be perfect.

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