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Nairobi: Terrorism risks
Nairobi – one of Africa’s most important business hubs – is at high risk from terrorism. The majority of incidents take place in the Eastleigh district, which has a large ethnic Somali population. Many attacks in Eastleigh are linked to disputes between rival Somali gangs and pose little threat to investor interests. However, the Somali militant group al-Shabaab has also proven its ability to strike against ‘soft’ targets in the city. Most notoriously, the group killed 67 people during an attack on the Westgate shopping mall in September 2013.
Given that Kenya maintains a large troop presence in Somalia, the risk of al-Shabaab attacks is likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future. Rather than attempting to penetrate well-guarded military installations, the group is most likely to attack ‘soft’ targets in Nairobi, such as public gatherings, sporting events and public transport, as well as other shopping malls. In the longer term, it is possible that al-Shabaab could seek to weaken the Kenyan economy by targeting the nascent oil and gas sector. The planned pipeline that will bring onshore reserves to the coast is likely to be especially vulnerable.
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