US embassy closed over terror fears

The US yesterday instructed its Embassy in Kigali as well as 19 other American embassies and consulates in Africa and Asia to temporarily close as a “precautionary step” following a worldwide travel terror alert.

The US yesterday instructed its Embassy in Kigali as well as 19 other American embassies and consulates in Africa and Asia to temporarily close as a “precautionary step” following a worldwide travel terror alert.

The embassy said on its website that it will be closed from August 5 to Saturday August 9 and announced the cancellation of all US citizen appointments and visa appointments.

“As previously noted, the (US State) Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps,” a statement reads in part.

Charles Hawley, the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S Embassy in Kigali, did not disclose information concerning the scale of terror threat against the embassy but directed The New Times to the Department of State announcement.

“The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety considerations.  Beyond this announcement, we do not discuss specific threat information, security considerations or measures, or other steps we may be taking,” the statement added.

Fears downplayed

The Rwanda National Police, however, downplayed the fears, saying there was no imminent threat to “security and peace” in Rwanda.

“There is no cause to worry because there is no terror threat against Rwanda. The embassy has closed as a decision taken by the Americans. We shall continue to do our work by maintaining security and peace,” ACP Theos Badege, the Police spokesman said.

Also closed are embassies and consulates in Madagascar, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Burundi, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Bangladesh, Qatar, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Mauritius, Yemen and Libya.

The US government assured that information is routinely shared with its key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting and alerted its citizens that they may be potential targets for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.

It states that current information suggests that al Al Qaeda and its affiliate terrorist organisations continue to plan attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.

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