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Obama lands in Kenya

July 24, 2015

Barack Obama has landed in Kenya on his first visit to the east African country since becoming US president. The president hopes to boost trade and security ties during the trip to his father's homeland and Ethiopia.

US President Barack Obama arrives in Kenya
Image: Getty Images/AFP/S. Loeb

Air Force One landed late on Friday at Nairobi's international airport, where he was welcomed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta with whom he will hold talks during his two-day visit.

Crowds of excited Kenyans also lined parts of the route to his hotel to welcome him to his ancestral home. Travelling in the presidential limousine with Obama was his half-sister Auma.

Huge security measures have been implemented across Nairobi during Obama's visit - blocking the capital's major roads and usually congested streets.

Trade and security

Trade talks will be at the top of Obama's agenda during the coming two days. Ahead of his visit, however, the US president said he would also deliver a "blunt message" to African leaders about gay rights and discrimination.

US President Barack Obama embraces his half-sister Auma on his arrival in Nairobi.
US President Barack Obama embraces his half-sister Auma on his arrival in Nairobi.Image: Reuters/T. Mukoya

The trip also aims to show the US' commitment to fighting terrorism in eastern Africa, in light of the ongoing battle against the Somali Islamist group al Shabab.

The al Qaeda-linked group was responsible for the attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping center in 2013, in which 67 people were killed. In April this year, 148 people were murdered in an assault at a Kenyan university near the Somali border.

No visit to father's burial ground

While presiding at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi over the weekend, Obama will also pay tribute to victims and survivors of the 1998 US embassy bombing.

Obama last visited Kenya in 2006 when he was still a US senator. He was barred from returning to Kenya sooner due to charges against Kenyatta for crimes against humanity - allegations which have now been dropped by the International Criminal Court.

During his current trip as US president, Obama is not expected to visit Kogelo where his father is buried.

ksb/glb (AFP, Reuters, dpa)