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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kidnapping on Western Tourist Beaches in Kenya Possible Al-Qaeda Scheme

By Jeremy Clarke
NAIROBI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. government has warned its citizens that Islamic militants based in Somalia may be planning kidnappings at Kenya's tourist-friendly beaches along its northern coast.

"The U.S. embassy has received information that Islamic extremists in southern Somalia may be planning kidnapping operations inside of Kenya," the embassy in Nairobi said.

"There are indications that Islamic extremists based in Somalia may be planning to target Westerners, especially American citizens," the statement released on Friday said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government sparked criticism among officials in Kenya's vital tourist industry when it issued a similar warning for the predominantly Muslim coast.

The Kenyan and U.S. governments have redoubled efforts this year to track al Qaeda masterminds behind the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed hundreds.

U.S. intelligence believed some of those militants and others involved in attacks against Israeli targets in Kenya in 2002 were in Somalia during the war over the New year, and may still be there.

Some Muslim leaders in Kenya say the U.S. government is persuading local authorities to crack down on their communities.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa.com

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