Kenya police hunt down grenade attacker

October 24, 2011 2:29 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere says investigators are following crucial leads in search of a man who hurled a grenade inside a downtown pub in Nairobi early Monday morning.

Iteere told journalists that so far no arrest had been made in connection with the attack but investigators had been able to identify the type of explosion used.

“Our investigators have been able to identify the explosive as an F1 type grenade which is Russian made. These are things which are not used by our security forces here and it means it must have been brought in [the country],” Iteere said.

The police chief told a press conference Monday afternoon that no suspect had been arrested “but we are following crucial leads to get the attacker and the motive behind this.”

A hand grenade was hurled inside Mwaura’s pub located on Mfangano Lane in down town Nairobi at about 2am, wounding twelve people.

The victims were rushed to the Kenyatta National Hospital where they were admitted with injuries inflicted by shrapnel. Some of them had been discharged from the hospital by midday Monday.

Asked what the security forces thought the motive of the attack was, the police chief said: “You all know that the Al Shabaab have their sympathisers here and probably may be these are the people we are dealing with.”

He was also categorical that the attack was a repercussion of the military offensive Kenya is undertaking in Somalia targeted at the Al Shabaab insurgents who have been blamed for high profile kidnappings of four European women seized from the Lamu island and Dadaab refugee camp, including that of Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu who died in the hands of kidnappers last week.

“We all know what is taking place, this is our second week in our engagement across the border and these are some of the things as a way of repercussions which we anticipated, it should not dampen our mode I think more than ever before this is the time to stand to be counted as Kenyans, all of us I think we are going to succeed,” the police chief said.

Al Shabaab insurgents have lately warned of reprisal attacks inside the capital Nairobi to protest the military operation targeting them in Somalia.

The US embassy in Nairobi warned on Saturday of an “imminent threat” of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, one week after Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia to hunt down the Al Shabaab fighters.

The embassy cited “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs.”

Last week, Kenya sent troops across its border with Somalia to hunt Al Shabaab insurgents it blames for the abduction of a British tourist, a disabled Frenchwoman – who has since died in captivity – and two Spanish aid workers.

The radical Islamist Al Shabaab, who denies kidnapping foreigners, have repeatedly warned of bloody retaliation.

On Monday, the police chief announced that security had been enhanced at vital installations in the capital, particularly at fuel storage facilities, motor vehicle and foot bridges which are likely targets for the insurgents.

Iteere said tight security measures had also been enhanced at the border areas, including at the Dadaad refugee camp where he revealed security forces had seized several AK 47 assault rifles.

“We are trying our best to secure our country as security forces but we also urge Kenyans to assist us the much they can,” he said.


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