In 2011, two separate – and unprecedented – events sparked intense media attention questioning the safety of tourism in the Lamu archipelago. In September, bandits raided a British couple’s banda at Kiwayu Safari Village on a remote beach on the mainland facing the northern tip of Kiwaiyu island. The man was shot dead and his wife kidnapped – she was released six months later after a ransom was paid. In October an elderly French expatriate was kidnapped from her home on the island of Manda. She died soon afterwards owing to her fragile state of health.

In 2014, the mainland of Lamu county was subjected to two major terrorist attacks when gunmen stormed the small towns of Mpeketoni and Hindi, killing nearly one hundred people, most of them migrants from central Kenya. The Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both atrocities.

While tourists have not been targeted and Lamu island itself has seen no violence, security measures in the archipelago have been significantly heightened in recent years and foreign governments periodically warn against travel in the area.

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