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400 tourists fly home after blasts

Some 400 British holidaymakers have now returned to the UK from Kenya after 10 people were killed when two explosions hit the capital Nairobi.

The tourists were flown back from the East African country's other main town, Mombasa, by tour operators Thomson and First Choice.

In addition to those killed in the attacks, around 70 people were thought to have been injured.

Both explosions were in the Gikombna Market area near Nairobi's Somali-populated Eastleigh district, with one of the blasts reported to have been on a 14-seat matatu tour bus.

The bombings prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to amend its Kenya travel advice. The new advice warned against all but essential travel to parts of Mombasa.

Thomson and First Choice said that the last flight carrying British tourists back to the UK arrived at Gatwick airport last night at 10.30pm.

The companies have cancelled all outbound flights to Kenya until October 31.

A spokesman said: "Customers due to travel to Mombasa, Kenya, up to and including this date should contact either their travel agent for holidays booked through a shop, or for call centre and web bookings our dedicated customer service line on 0800 072 3829 between 8:30am and 8pm, to discuss their options.

"We understand that many customers will be very disappointed about the cancellation of their holiday to Kenya. However, in these types of situation we have to follow the FCO advice."

Two clients with long-haul travel company Kuoni were also flown home yesterday, with the company not offering any more holidays to the Kenyan coast while the travel advice remains in place.

A spokeswoman for UK travel organisation Abta said: "Alternative destinations or full refunds will be offered to consumers travelling on package holidays to affected areas for as long as the advice remains in place.

"If customers are due to travel to the areas impacted, they should contact their tour operator, who will advise them about the status of their booking."

Holidaymaker Alex Dolphin, from Surrey, arrived back at Gatwick yesterday afternoon, having spent three days at a resort on Diani Beach.

He told the BBC: "I didn't feel uneasy until we were in a convoy of three coaches parked on the roadside waiting to leave for the airport.

"I was keeping an eye open as we drove through Mombasa."

Other holidaymakers had mixed views about the way the whole situation had been handled.

One man told the BBC it had been "a shambles" but other returning holidaymakers said tour companies were "very professional" and had "done the right thing".

Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the bombings, saying: "There can be no place for appalling acts of violence such as this in any society.

"The Kenyan authorities have our full support as they investigate this incident and seek to prevent further attacks."


From Belfast Telegraph