Alert Plus: Violence Erupts in Nairobi, Kenya

Violence Erupts in Nairobi. Parliament and Government Buildings Targeted

Intelligence cut off: 16:00 GMT 25th of June 2024

On June 25th, Nairobi was engulfed in violence as protesters stormed the Parliament of Kenya, setting the building ablaze. The city, along with urban centres like Mombasa, Nyeri, and Eldoret, became scenes of serious clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Central transportation in Nairobi was brought to a standstill by makeshift barricades and burning tires, exacerbating the tense atmosphere.

As of 16:15 GMT, official reports confirm at least five fatalities, with 13 serious injuries and 11 minor injuries recorded. However, these figures are believed to understate the true extent of casualties, with unverified accounts suggesting a rapid rise in injuries and fatalities amidst the ongoing unrest.

The protests have primarily targeted government and police facilities. In addition to the Parliament building, protesters set ablaze the Office of the Governor in Nairobi and stormed several police stations. Similar incidents occurred in Eldoret, where the county court faced destruction. There’s also been looting reported at MPs’ clubs and supermarkets in Nairobi and Nyeri, indicative of broader public discontent.

The protests were triggered by a controversial tax bill championed by President William Ruto’s government. This legislation increases taxes on essential items such as bread and motor vehicles, part of broader fiscal measures aimed at addressing Kenya’s substantial $80 billion debt and promoting the country as a stable, modern African nation. However, the tax hikes have exacerbated economic hardship for many in a nation where millions live below the international poverty line, igniting widespread anger and unrest.

Kenya’s Government’s Response to the Protests?

What began as peaceful demonstrations on June 18th quickly escalated following heavy-handed police tactics, including the early use of tear gas and mass detentions. By early afternoon, over 200 protesters had been apprehended, marking a critical turning point as crowds gathered outside Nairobi’s central police station demanding the release of detainees.

The government’s response has included shutting down local internet services and using live ammunition against protesters, indicating a hardened stance that could prolong the unrest. The resulting casualties are expected to strain Kenya’s already stretched healthcare infrastructure, potentially necessitating increased support from international NGOs and humanitarian organisations.

How might the unrest impact Kenya’s economy and security?

Beyond immediate humanitarian concerns, the unrest poses significant implications for Kenya’s economy and security. The disruption of infrastructure and government functions in Nairobi and other affected areas could have direct economic repercussions, affecting businesses and travel across the country. Moreover, the government’s aggressive crowd control tactics and apparent failures to safeguard public assets raise concerns about further escalation and the potential need for military intervention, which could complicate the operating environment for foreign humanitarian organisations.

As the situation unfolds, the damage to infrastructure and ongoing disruptions to daily life underscore the precariousness of Kenya’s current state, with implications that extend far beyond its borders.

Travel Risk Advice: Kenya

  • Avoid all non-essential travel to Kenya, particularly Nairobi and Mombasa. 
  • Avoid the central business district in Nairobi, particularly Kenyatta Avenue, Haile Selassie Avenue, City Hall Way and any other wide roads conducive to the staging of protests, as well as all major government buildings such as the Kenyan Parliament or the Governor’s Office. 
  • Closely monitor announcements from local authorities and media sources for any developments that may severely impact the local security environment.
  • Avoid all areas of unrest due to incidental risks to bystanders. If caught in the unrest, travellers should move with the crowd until they find the nearest opportunity to escape. If in a vehicle, look to turn down the nearest road. If driving away is not an option, lock the vehicle and escape on foot. 
  • Always follow all instructions and orders from security forces. Where possible, avoid areas of active unrest and remain in a secure accommodation. 
  • Prolonged civil unrest can disrupt travel, especially if protesters begin targeting airports. Travellers should have contingency measures in place, including evacuation plans and reliable access to food, water and medication. 
  • Have emergency contact numbers saved on your phone. These should include the local authorities, medical facilities and any consular support. Ensure that mobile phones are charged in case of any losses in electricity. 
  • If caught in the vicinity of a security incident, seek shelter immediately and leave the area if safe to do so. Continue to adhere to all instructions issued by authorities and obey any security cordons in place. 
  • The overall security situation in Kenya, including Nairobi, is likely to remain severe in the coming days. 
  • Monitor the Solace Secure platform and trusted local media for relevant updates.


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