State Department Issues Kenya Travel Warning Following Attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department issued a travel advisory Monday to Americans going to Kenya following attacks on tourists including the shooting death of a Connecticut woman last week.
″There have been a few instances of attacks on tourists along the coast south of Mombasa and in remote areas of the country, including some national parks. Most of these attacks, some of which resulted in deaths of tourists, have been attributed to heavily armed wildlife poachers,″ the advisory said.
″When visiting game parks, Americans are encouraged to travel in groups with a guide from a reputable safari firm or a game ranger.″
Marie Magdefrau Ferraro, 50, of Bethany, Conn., was shot to death Thursday when two bandits armed with assault rifles emerged from nearby bushes and began firing at a van carrying a Connecticut Audubon Society wildlife tour group.
It was originally suspected that the attackers were ivory poachers. The Kenyan government has imposed a severe crackdown on poachers who kill elephants for their ivory tusks.
But tour leader Milan Bull, who returned with the group Sunday, told The Hartford Courant that he believes the attackers were deserters from the Somalian army.
The ambush was the latest in a series of attacks against tourists in Kenya.
In April, three Germans were wounded in an ambush near where the Connecticut group was attacked. Four weeks ago, two French tourists were shot to death by poachers in Meru National Park. And last week two Americans were beaten up while on horseback safari.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., had urged the State Department to impose a travel advisory last week following the attack.
″Using high-powered weapons, and with disregard for any authority, these criminals are roaming the countryside and preying on innocent victims,″ the senator said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ferraro’s body is expected to be returned to the United States sometime this week, State Department officials said.
″Our consul there has been working all weekend on it,″ said one department official, who asked not to be identified. ″These things take time and require a lot of paper (work) and are complicated. But there is no delay that I’m aware of.″