The Tourist police unit in Mombasa received a boost in its operations after the Federal Republic of Germany through its Embassy donated 10 Kibo motorcycles to the force.
The bikes are meant to enhance mobility and patrol in Mombasa and other sections of the Coast region. This is a timely intervention given the festive season is drawing closer and tourists are beginning to arrive in the country.
Speaking during the official handover, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Sebastian Groth said that the motorcycles sponsored by the German police are intended at supporting and augmenting the work of the tourist police unit in the coastal region.
The Ambassador noted that his embassy is consulting with other embassies to come up with a common policy on the subject of security alert issuance. This comes after the US Embassy put out an alert cautioning its citizens on travel to a section of areas in the Coast region among them Lamu and Malindi.
“We don’t have a warning at the moment, but we advise our German citizens to remain vigilant and we hope we can be more flexible in the future as the embassy consults with other embassies to come up with a common policy on this subject,” said Groth.
He noted that with the number of tourists in the region increasing, about 70,000 German tourists come to the country annually.
The envoy revealed that key hotel industry players have told him that they expect good bookings for November and December and added that no changes in security arrangements have been made from their end.
“Industry players in the hotel industry have communicated to me and are upbeat about good bookings for the festive season and for the time being we do not have any plans to modify our recommendations to German tourists and we haven’t given them any specific warnings,” added Groth.
He said that as long as the German Embassy could assess the situation in the region with the help of Kenyan authorities, the region remains safe for tourists.
Tourist Police Commander Paul Soi on his part echoed the sentiments of the ambassador assuring that the situation in the region as far as tourists’ safety is concerned remains safe.
He noted that with the assistance the unit has received from the German Embassy, his unit will execute its mandate more efficiently.
He also said that he was in consultation with the German Embassy to come up with similar assistive initiatives in other areas in the country such as the Maasai Mara Game reserve and Isiolo where there are large numbers of tourists in order to secure and safe guard them.
“We have areas such as the Maasai Mara Game reserve and sections of Isiolo where we have our officers working round the clock to secure our tourists so I am consulting with the Embassy to see if this initiative can extend to such areas in order to secure tourists and visitors in those areas,” said Soi.
He also noted that with the increased number of tourists visiting the region, the police have enhanced security and have averted any doubts with regard to the same.
The Kibo Motorcycles are designed in Holland and made in Kenya. The specific models delivered to the Tourist Police Unit are the 150cc and the 250cc that are both kitted for on-road and off-road durability.
By Chari Suche and Andrew Hinga