Kenya begins blast probe, seeks calm

June 14, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The government has appealed for calm among the public and appealed to anyone who may have witnessed the lead-up to Sunday’s multiple blasts at a rally in Uhuru Park to present it to investigators.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said several state agencies were already working round the clock to unravel the incident which left six people dead and more than 100 others injured.

“The police reported that there were three grenade explosions in quick succession resulting in many injuries. As a result of the two explosions and stampede, five people died while undergoing treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital and one at the scene of the incident,” Mr Odinga said.

He said President Mwai Kibaki who chaired a national security committee meeting earlier on Monday had expressed grave concern at the senseless violence meted against innocent Kenyans. “The President also reiterated the need for all Kenyans to embrace tolerance and accommodation, regardless of each other’s views.”

Mr Odinga said the police were under instruction to undertake quick, comprehensive and thorough investigations and assured that the Government would keep the public informed on the progress of the probe.

He added: “This is the first time this type of incident has ever happened in a public forum. The Government will enhance security in public forums to prevent recurrence of such an incident.”

The government resolved that civic education on the Constitution and the Yes and No campaigns should continue uninterrupted.

As the probe continued, dozens of those injured were still nursing injuries at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

“When the blast occurred, I was thrown high up in the air. When that happened, I fainted and even my shoes came off my feet,” a survivor told Capital News from KNH.

Twenty one people were still admitted to the referral hospital which has so far treated more than 112 people.

“I heard the first blast which was like a gunshot. I then heard the second explosion. Before that, we had been told to move back from the first blast. When we did that, we came together in one place and that is when the second explosion took place and we were affected.”

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo visited patients at the facility and said they were responding well to treatment.

“I have seen also the other six who have been prepared to go to theatre. They are all in very good spirits. The doctors have also assured me that all the patients are out of danger,” she stated.+

The Yes Campaign team has in the meantime called on Kenyans to desist from politicising Sunday’s blasts at Uhuru Park.

Led by co-Convenor Kiraitu Murungi, the team appealed for calm, sobriety and peace during this referendum period.

“Let us carry on campaigns as one family of Kenya where love, peace, tolerance and understanding guide what we say and do. After all, we all belong to one nation, Kenya,” Mr Murungi said.

They also appealed to government security agencies to be extremely vigilant during this campaign period to avoid a repeat attack in future.

“We ask the security agencies to expeditiously investigate this horrendous act of cowardice and bring the culprits to book as soon as possible. We also urge the government to leave no stone unturned and get to the root of this matter,” he said.


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