NAIROBI, Kenya -- Police here said they have beefed up security
around the Maasai Mara Game Reserve following attacks on two groups
of tourists traveling to the game park in vans on Dec. 10.
Police reported that twice on the same stretch of road near the
reserve three hooded men attacked vans carrying mostly British
tourists and stole their valuables and passports.
The first attack was on a convoy of four vans carrying British
tourists at Fiaya Pei, 75 miles southwest of Nairobi, police said.
The second came on two vans carrying British, Yugoslavian and
Portuguese tourists near Ewaso Ngiro, a hamlet 40 miles down the
same road, police said.
Police said that at least one of the men brandished a machine
gun and another a sword during the incidents, which were the
seventh and eighth attacks on tourists in the Maasai Mara park this
year. Police said that none of the approximately 40 tourists was
Police said they arrested one of the bandits and recovered much
of the stolen property one day after the incidents.
Richard Leakey, the renowned conservationist who heads the Kenya
Wildlife Service, vowed that Kenyan authorities would capture the
three men. "We have a massive operation going on," Leakey told
reporters in Nairobi.
In response to the attacks, Eric Gordon, who heads Park East
Tours in New York, said his firm for the immediate term would fly
clients into airstrips inside the Maasai Mara reserve, instead of
transporting them by road from Nairobi.
Gordon said that he was confident Kenyan officials would be
tough on crime against tourists. "The fact that [Richard Leakey] is
there has given a lot of faith to tour operators and tourists going
to Kenya that crime won't be brushed off," Gordon said.
Still, the number of U.S. travelers visiting Kenya has dropped
from a high of 90,000 in 1990 to 54,500 last year, officials