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Kenya beefs up security ahead of national fete


Kenya beefs up security ahead of national fete

NAIROBI, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities said over 5,000 police officers have been deployed at strategic positions in Nairobi and across the country to maintain security ahead of the national fete to mark 50 years of independence on Thursday.

Nairobi County Police Commander Benson Kibui said security will be enhanced at the Uhuru Gardens where the national flag will be hoisted at midnight and Chinese-built Kasarani stadium where the main activities will take place on Thursday.

"We are here to ensure security for all and especially stand to tame the terrorists and other gangs that may be planning other things," Kibui said on Wednesday.

His remarks come as the foreign ministry announced that more than 20 African leaders have been invited to grace the occasion.

Some of the invited presidents from both Africa and across the world arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday to attend Kenya's 50th anniversary which will be used to arouse feelings of hope and nationalism. Kenya attained its independence from Britain on Dec. 12, 1963.

Nairobi Regional Coordinator Njoroge Ndirangu told journalists in Nairobi that dozens of security personnel will cordon off the city to ward off any threats of terrorist activities from any quarters.

"All security agencies have been mobilized and briefed to ensure that there is maximum security during these celebrations. All the services have been deployed accordingly to ensure that there are no security lapses during the celebrations," Ndirangu said.

"State securities have already secured the Kasarani stadium ahead of the celebrations. Security officers have also been deployed to patrol the central business district, the city estates and its environs," he added.

The government administrator said terrorism threats are real and security agencies will work round the clock to deter any such threats.

Ndirangu said all persons and vehicles accessing the stadium will undergo through security checks. Members of public are advised to make their way into the stadium early enough to avoid last minute rush and long queues at the entrances," he said.

The country has been subjected to successive explosives attacks by Al-Shabaab operatives in the country following the onslaught by Kenyan soldiers on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia after the militia staged a series of attacks along the Kenyan coast.

The latest attack was on a police vehicle on Tuesday in which armed militia killed eight people among them five police officers in Liboi at the Somalia-Kenya border.

Sports, Culture and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario said the celebrations to make 50 years of the country's independence offered an opportunity for Kenyans to interrogate their past, look at the present and reflect on the future.

Wario said the fete also presents Kenya with the chance to break records as the national flag will be hoisted on the Batian peak of Mount Kenya.