Keen to host U20 Games, Kenya steps up security measures
In the wake of coronavirus threat, security machinery in Kenya have vowed to go an extra mile to ensure all is well at all the entry points ahead of the 2020 World U20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi from 7th to 12th of July 2020.
Local Organising Committee (LOC) security teams have toured various entry points within the country to sensitize their counterparts on the expectations during the July 7-12 event. The team which was divided into two visited both the western and coastal regions.
Coast regional commissioner John Elungata assured the security team that Mombasa is ready as they have experience from hosting many international events at the coast.
He said while the terror threat from the notorious Al Shaabab Terrorist Group is a reality, they are well prepared.
“At the coast, we have a well-equipped Anti-Terror Police Unit. We are always alert, and we have dealt with many threats and prevented several attacks. This is a priority for us and we can assure you that we have put measures in place to ensure we deal with every eventuality if and when it arises,” he added.
The Mombasa team led by security and accreditation director Joseph Kiget, also toured the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. This is the next available international airport incase flights are diverted from Nairobi for whatever reason.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) regional airport manager, Peter Wafula, took the team through what to expect in case flights are diverted from Nairobi.
The airport’s Unit 2 that was used for the 2007 World Cross Country Championship in Mombasa still has the same facilities in place.
“Unit 2 is in perfect condition. We have enough immigration desks as well as luggage conveyor belts to deal with multiple flights. In case the airport is to be used to receive our visitors for the championship, we will have Unit 2 exclusively set a side for that purpose. No one else will be allowed on this side,” he said.
At the Kenya Ports Authority, Managing Director Manduku welcomed the committee, pledging full support for the event.
“I know the importance of the Port of Mombasa because a lot of equipment will pass through here. During the 2017 World athletics Under-18 Championship, we had a lot of equipment to clear. Just like in 2017, we will give it first priority and waive all charges. You will only pay for handling charges,” said the MD.
KPA will give the goods a priority and put them on the Standard Gauge Railway within 24 hours of landing at the port of Mombasa.
In an impressive move, KPA has built an isolation facility at the port in case there are any coronavirus cases from the cruise ships that dock at the port of Mombasa.
In Western, the team visited Kakamega, Busia border, Malaba and the Moi international Airport in Eldoret while the Mombasa, team toured the Kenya Ports Authority and the Moi International airport, Mombasa.
The western regional commissioner, Anne Ng’etich said all was in place to ensure the country hosts a successful event.
She said she was part of the World Under 18 Championships organisation in 2017 and hopes that her experience then will go a long way in assisting in this year’s event.
She, however, urged the Organising Committee to keep them posted on regular basis in the wake of the coronavirus threat.
“I have already briefed my team both at the Busia and Malaba borders about the event, and security is in place even before the World Under 20 show,” she added.
Busia County commander John Kanyiri confirmed that they had received instructions from the Western regional boss over the same and were already in discussions with his team on how best to handle the situation during the period.
Organizing Committee Security Committee Assistant Director, Joseph Chirchir briefed security teams at entry points in western and Eldoret Airport on the expectations of the World Athletics.
“The entry points in the western region are very key for both athletes and athletics fans. We expect Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Sudan and South Sudan nationals to use these entry points during the athletics championship period,” he said.
He, however, warned that even as they give preference to the needs of the visitors the immigration lows still have to be followed to the letter.