Posted by: Caitlin | July 9, 2007


When you mention Nairobi, people often instantly think of danger. Sure, there is a reason the city earned the over-used nickname “Nairobbery”- petty crime is common here, as it is in any large city, especially a city with such profound inequality. Since my return to Nairobi, I have been trying to gage how dangerous Kenya is, in order to determine just so paranoid I should be. Luckily, the UN security report, which I excerpt from below, assuaged my fears. Most of the security threats are just funny, except the grenade one. That sucks.

On 26/06/07 a staff member discovered some money missing from his house (about US$1,000). On questioning the house-girl, she admitted to have stolen the money but said she did not have it any more, as she had purchased various items. A report was made to police who arrested the girl and later recovered electronics from her residence which she had purportedly bought with the money.

On 01/07/07 at 1500 hrs a non staff member came into the complex to confirm the sale of an official vehicle allegedly put on sale by UN. She stated that, she had entered into an informal marriage arrangement with a person claiming to be working with the World Food Program. The person informed her that, WFP was in a process of disposing off a fleet of vehicles and gave her a sale acknowledgement letter for the approved disposal of an official WFP vehicle at cost of Ksh. 247,000/- payable through him and she gave him the money. She produced a photocopy of a letter bearing fictitious signatories and UN emblem.

430hrs, unknown number of Turkana bandits crossed into Pokot district and stole over 200 herds of cattle but security personnel managed to rescue 120 herds after a fierce gun battle. The rest were driven towards Lokori division.

On 02/07 /07 bandits thought to be Somalis stole 16 camels and 12 donkeys in Pokot district.The bandits were heading for Uganda when they were apprehended. Only 10 donkeys were recovered.

On 01/07/07 at around 0800hrs, near Warankara trading center, four juveniles were playing when they encountered a live hand grenade which they unknowingly tossed up and down. It exploded and killed one of them died on the spot and left two others with serious injuries. Police are investigating to establish the source of the grenade.

One must refrain from certain activities in Nairobi, most notably going almost any where at night without a taxi. And I have talked to many wazungu (whites) who have been robbed, and a co-worker was victim of a car jacking. The blood-drinking, beheading Mungiki sect aren’t making people any more comfortable. But the problem with security is that you never think a place is dangerous until something happens to you.

Maybe I should protect myself by wielding fire like this girl (cool!), or more likely I will just knock on wood often.


Photo from Toronto Flickr group


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