Kenya blames Shabaab for Mombasa blasts

April 1, 2012 3:26 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti have linked Saturday’s twin blasts in Mombasa to the Somalia based, Al Shabaab terror group.

The leaders who visited one of the blast scenes in Mtwapa also called for increased vigilance among Kenyans.

“We shall not relax until we root out al Shabaab militia out of Kenya and their sympathizers,” said Saitoti. “I have directed the police commissioner to beef up security in all public places and increase their patrols.”

Odinga condemned the attacks and said the government will not allow a terror group to disrupt the nation’s security and economy.

“Our resolve to ensure safety prevails here forced us last year to send our security forces in Somalia to hunt and rid this country of terrorists that threaten our peace,” he said.

Odinga led a government delegation comprised of Saitoti, Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi and Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere to visit the scenes of the Mombasa blasts on the island and at Mtwapa.

The leaders also visited those who were injured and were still admitted to hospital on Sunday.

Meanwhile Coast Provincial Director of Medical Service Dr Anisa Baghazal confirmed Sunday that those who remained in hospital were out of danger, although some were in a critical condition.

“We received 14 victims from the twin blasts. Five are in critical condition but out of danger while eight have soft tissue injuries,” says Baghazal.

She confirmed there were six male patients, who included a 12-year-old boy and a police officer.

The injured police officer from the Criminal Investigation Department suffered injuries to his face in the second blast at a restaurant near the Mombasa stadium.

At least one person was killed and 18 were wounded in the attacks on the restaurant and a church gathering in the nearby town of Mtwapa, the Kenya Red Cross said.

In Mtwapa, an explosive device that police said was likely a grenade was thrown at a Christian gathering.

“Sixteen people were injured, two critically, and one died,” Nelly Muluka, a Red Cross spokeswoman, told AFP Sunday, adding that all the injured remained in hospital.

A second attack, minutes later, in Mombasa in which a grenade was hurled at a restaurant injured three people, including the police officer.

Two of those three have since been discharged but one remains in hospital, Muluka said.

“Our team in Mombasa has set up a tracing and information desk at the Coast general hospital and at Oasis hospital,” she added.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A survivor of the Mtwapa attack, Katana Kahindi, who sustained slight injuries to his right leg, said he saw a minibus swing towards the group of church goers before hearing a loud blast.

“I could not say whether the vehicle’s occupants had hurled the grenade that exploded,” he told AFP.

Top officials visited the victims in hospital, among them Environment Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, who is also a local MP.

“Its bad that innocent Kenyans have suffered at the hands of attackers and we wish them quick recovery,” says the minister

Since Kenya sent tanks and troops into Somalia late last year, a whole series of grenade attacks and explosions have taken place, both in Nairobi and in eastern towns and camps housing Somali refugees close to the border.

Targets have ranged from police vehicles to local bars and churches. The Kenyan authorities often blame such attacks on Somalia’s Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab rebels.


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