- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

12:19 p.m.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - The U.S. Embassy said today it has been alerted to a possible terrorist threat targeting this month’s world cross-country championships in Kenya.

The embassy released a statement saying the threat was coming from “alleged extremist elements.”

“The U.S. Embassy is also aware of public statements by leaders of Kenya’s Coastal Muslim community threatening to disrupt, through unspecified means, the World Cross Country Championship if the government of Kenya does not satisfy various demands,” the statement said.

No more details were released, and embassy spokeswoman Jennifer Barnes said she had no further comment. Calls to Isaac P. Kalua, head of the race-organizing committee, rang unanswered today.

The International Association of Athletics Federations’ World Cross Country Championships are scheduled for March 24 in the coastal city of Mombasa.

In recent weeks, Muslim leaders in Mombasa have threatened to disrupt the international race unless the government releases Kenyans held on suspicion of engaging in terrorism and those detained in Somalia and Ethiopia.

The protests were led by Sheik Mohamed Dor, secretary-general of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya.

Sheik Dor said today that his group will disrupt the race unless the detainees are released but that there will be no violence.

“We are going to have a very, very big demonstration to disrupt the cross-country,” he said.

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