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Peace Corps suspends Kenya program due to security concerns

The U.S. Department of State confirmed Thursday that the Peace Corps has suspended operation in Kenya due to security concerns and that "volunteers are still leaving."
By JC Finley   |   July 24, 2014 at 2:47 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- The Peace Corps has ordered its volunteers in Kenya to evacuate due to security concerns.

U.S. Department of State deputy spokesperson Marie Harf noted surprise Thursday that news of the suspended program was just now making headlines.

"The decision was made on June 30," she told reporters at the daily press briefing, "after monitoring the security situation writ large."

Harf noted that the U.S. embassy in Nairobi "remains open and well staffed," and that the Peace Corps "volunteers are still leaving."

In June, at the time the decision to suspend Peace Corps operations, the State Department issued a travel warning for Kenya that advised: "U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some area."

On June 15, there was a terrorist attack in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, prompting the U.S. embassy to restrict travel of U.S. government personnel to coastal counties, and to relocate some staff to other countries.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for attacks in June and July along the Kenyan coast that claimed 85 lives.

The embassy announced on June 21 that while it would remain open, "modest staffing changes" would take place.

There was no indication regarding when the Peace Corps will resume its program in Kenya.

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