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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Kenya battling to allay security fears

Isa Omok | January 16, 2003 21:27 IST

Kenya is battling to convince the International Cricket Council that it is capable of handling security at two World Cup matches next month, Kenyan officials said on Thursday.

Security fears grew in November when 16 people were killed in a suicide bombing at an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast, minutes after two missiles narrowly missed an Israeli airliner taking off nearby.

Kenya's government is due to issue a formal statement later this week reassuring cricket officials and Test nations that their country can take care of security for the matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 21 and 24.

"We expect the statement to come from the Office of the President or State House or a high-calibre representative and it should be sent personally to ICC headquarters in London by latest Monday," a senior official in the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services told Reuters.

"We expect no less a person than the Head of State to push Kenya's case, in much the same way that Zimbabwe's (President) Robert Mugabe defended his country's record against strong opposition from London and Australia," the official said.

Kenyan cricket fans have been concerned that the games could be moved to South Africa following reports that former New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe is unhappy about security and safety arrangements.

"He seriously doubted Kenya's ability to handle security and safety during next month's Cricket World Cup," said the official, who declined to be named.

Crowe was part of an ICC delegation that inspected security arrangements in Kenya on January 12-13 for the two games due to take place at the Gymkhana club in Nairobi.

"He was particularly disturbed after he visited the United States Embassy in Nairobi and held talks with security officials there," the official said.

KCA officials declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.


Fresh security concerns about east Africa, where 1998 bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam killed 224 people, follow various warnings issued by Britain, the United States and other countries in the past month.

Britain said on Wednesday that an "international terrorist" group might be planning to carry out an attack on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Kenya's neighbour Tanzania, and warned its citizens to be careful.

Australia and the United States have also warned their citizens to be on alert on the mainly Muslim island.

The U.S. warned on January 4 that American citizens in east Africa faced the threat of kidnapping in addition to other potential terror attack risks.

"To him (Crowe), it matters less whether Zanzibar and Kenya are different. It is the region that matters," the official said. "He did not mince his words and he told KCA that there is real danger in staging the matches in Nairobi."

While Sri Lanka have confirmed that they will play their World Cup match in Nairobi, New Zealand have raised concerns on security issues.

KCA officials believe Kenya can safely hold the games following their successful staging of the 2000 ICC Trophy one-day tournament, which involves all the Test-playing nations.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Absolutely Ridiculous

How pathetic!!! Its ironic that the US Embassy in Kenya should be giving advice about security, yet there own government was unable to prevent the ...

Posted by IV


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