Attacks on tourists prompt more Kenyan police patrols

By , Special To The Christian Science Monitor

Kenya, with a big tourist industry second in value only to its agricultural exports, is tightening its security in sensitive areas in safari land. Tourism here suffered a shock recently when a British tourist was shot and killed in a minibus by a gang of thugs in the Rift Valley. The driver was wounded. There was another attack on a busload of tourists who were robbed.

Concerned lest visitors get scared away, the government has increased police patrols in areas like the Masai Mara Reserve, where there is the second biggest concentration of wild animals in Africa after Tanzania's Serengeti Reserve. Patrols along other tourist circuits have also been intensified, according to Minister of Tourism Elijah Mwangale.

Thousands of tourists, including many Americans, will soon be coming to the Masai Mara Reserve to see the great wildebeest (gnu) migration from Tanzania's Serengeti Reserve. Nearly 2 million of the animals come to Kenya's Masai Mara to crop the lush grass along the Mara River and then return to Tanzania later in the year.

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In fact, the majority of tourists coming here head not for the game parks but for the coast north and south of Mombasa. The beaches there especially attract Germans, Austrians, Swiss, French, and Italians. The wildlife concentrations in the great parks and reserves tend to draw in mostly American and British tourists.

Mr. Mwangale has assured such tourists and the tour agencies that there's no need to cancel bookings made before the two incidents occurred. Kenya, he said, was safe for visitors and the government was fully committed to wipe out any form of thuggery.

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