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Increasing threats forces Swedish embassy in Kenya to be displaced

Wednesday, 19 October 2011
The Swedish Embassy in Kenya is moving from its current premises for good because of security threats to the building.

Around 60 employees now work from Ambassador Ann Dismorr’s residence as a new embassy building will be completed early next year.
“We will relocate to other premises in anticipation of the new embassy to be completed,” said Deputy Ambassador, Bjorn Häggmark to Swedish daily’s Dagens Nyheter.

The Embassy in Nairobi is Swedens second largest embassy in the world, after Moscow, and has about 60 employees. On Monday, they were evacuated from the building, Lion Inn located in downtown Nairobi due to a security threat. Work is now taking place at the Ambassador, Ann Dismorr’s residence in northern Nairobi.

“There was a security threat against the building the embassy is in. We decided over the  weekend after an assessment that we would leave it and we will not be returning,” says Bjorn Häggmark to the paper.


The same building also had the Norwegian embassy until recently, when they chose to look for other premises. Banking and finance companies are also in the building but it is the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, which is the tenant that stands out among the rest.

UNHCR conducts extensive operations in the Horn of Africa, because of the ongoing conflict in Somalia, and there is a threat in Kenya, which is reinforced by the Kenyan troops entering Somalia over the weekend.

But Bjorn Häggmark would not comment on the UNHCR, which is directly threatened. He points out that the threat is not directly linked to the recent events in Somalia. Already in September the embassy was evacuated for a week.

“However, there is a general threat in Kenya and we encouraged travellers earlier to exercise caution when travelling in Kenya,” says Bjorn Häggmark.

Early next year a new embassy building is to be completed in northern Nairobi, where the UN has its headquarters and the U.S. has a large embassy building.

Working from Ambassador's residence means that there are significant limits to the activities of embassy, according Häggmark.

“We can not carry out certain tasks, particularly those involving the public, such as the consular affairs. All immigration matters are quite low right now,” he says.
By Team

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