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Kenya prepares to welcome Obama "back home"

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 01:54

Kenya prepares to welcome U.S President Barack Obama back ''home,'' with residents of Nairobi hoping the focus will be on security. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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High hopes in Nairobi as Kenya prepares to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama will land in Kenya Friday with a mission to strengthen U.S. security and economic ties. But his personal connection to his father's birthplace will dominate a trip that Kenyans view as a native son coming home. Residents like David Obudho want the focus on security. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAIROBI RESIDENT, DAVID OBUDHO, SAYING: "Security should be the first agenda and Obama coming to Kenya,and Obama being, the way we put it, he's being our son, we believe that even after his retirement probably one time he will want to come back to his home and should be coming back home confident that he is secure." Kenya is a critical Western ally in the battle against the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab. In September 2013 the militants launched a four day siege of the Westgate shopping mall, leaving some 67 people dead. The violence has hurt Kenya's tourism industry, and many Kenyans want help from the U.S. says security analyst Mwendwa Mbijiwe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SECURITY AND COUNTER TERRORISM ANALYST, MWENDWA MBIJIWE, SAYING: "America has immense experience into these issues of counter terrorism. From 9/11, America completely transformed itself and became a learning spot. People traveled from the world over to America to go and learn in their institutions and police departments and universities on how to counter terrorism. So, President Kenyatta will be wanting to tap from this immense pool of knowledge, how can we improve our national security? Can you share some lessons with us?" Obama who visited his Kenya in 2006 as a senator will be the first sitting U.S. president to go to the country.

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Kenya prepares to welcome Obama "back home"

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 01:54