, NAIROBI, Kenya May 28 – A massive explosion that rocked a building on Moi Avenue in Nairobi wounding dozens of people was likely caused by an electrical fault, according to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere.
Visiting the scene, Iteere played down fears it had been a bomb attack by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab insurgents.
“We have been to scene of the incident and at this time we can be able to say that it was not a grenade or bomb blast. Form the preliminary investigations we do think it was electrical fault,” he said of the massive blast which took place at around 1.15pm local time.
People on the streets and in buildings around the Central Business District all heard the massive blast, believing it was caused by a bomb or other explosive device.
Most were not convinced by the explanation by the police chief who added: “We have also been to the hospital and seen the victim and what we are getting is that the injuries were some sort of burns.”
But Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode said it was too early to ascertain the cause of the blast.
“Lets us be patient and wait for the investigations report. It will be premature for me to say whether the blast was caused by an electrical fault or an explosive or a terrorist attack,” he told reporters at the scene of the blast.
People in adjacent shops said they saw two men hurl something at the building before they were pursued by police officers on patrol.
Assanands House is home to several clothing stalls and video shops.
People who were near the scene of the blast recounted what they saw and heard prior and after the blast.
“I arrived when the fire was still on. It was so loud so I tried to move away because with the crowd you never know what might happen next,” one observer said.
“I just heard people talking so I can to see for myself,” another stated.
“I reached somewhere here around Imenti House and at first I thought it was a tyre burst or something but then I thought that was a bigger explosion and that is when I heard people start to say that it was a bomb blast.”
“There was a big bang before the fire started and I ran away for dear life.”
The security situation in the Central Business District was immediately tightened following the blast.
A spot check by Capital FM News in various buildings within the town revealed that guards were being more thorough in their checks.
They said they would remain vigilant to any suspicious activities to prevent any attack by terrorists.
Kenya has been hit by a wave of attacks the police have repeatedly blamed on Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab insurgents.
At least 20 people were rushed to hospital following the blast.
(Simon Ndonga contributed to this report).