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US agency pulls out Kenya staff “permanently”

USAIDThe United States Agency for International Development is “permanently” relocating some staff members from Kenya, an official has said.

“We have decided to permanently relocate some US government personnel, including USAid staff, who work primarily on regional programmes, to other regional centers in Africa,” Mr Matt Herrick said, declining to specify the number of employees affected.

He did not comment on whether “permanently” means that USAid staff will not return to Kenya if security is judged to have improved but noted that “the relocation order does not apply to USAid personnel involved in bilateral programmes with the Kenyan government.”

The Peace Corps will maintain its 70-plus volunteers while continuing to “closely monitor the security environment in Kenya,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

The volunteers have been in the country for more than a year.

TERROR ATTACKS

They have developed “strong language and cross-cultural skills that allow them to move about safely,” Mr Herrick said adding that the program has implemented “specific policies and procedures designed to ensure their continued security.”

The US embassy in Nairobi has also heightened security amid recent terror attacks in the country. Last week, the Nation reported that an unspecified number of embassy staffers were relocated.

Those remaining are restricted in their travels within the country. The embassy also declared Nairobi’s Eastleigh, much of the Coast and Northeastern parts of the country as no-go zones for US personnel.

The State Department also indicated last week that the US will be sponsoring fewer conferences and training sessions in Nairobi.

US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec however said these moves do not signify a lesser commitment to Kenya’s security and development.

-Nation

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