NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Police have now officially linked the grenade attack in downtown Nairobi to the Al Shabaab threats issued in the past week.
Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi told Capital News that they have every reason to link the attack to the threats Al Shabaab insurgents have been issuing.
“There is every reason to believe they are responsible and yes we are linking this attack to the Al Shabaab threats,” Kibuchi said while urging city residents to be extra careful.
“I have repeatedly urged city residents to be extra careful and after this attack, I am again appealing to Kenyans to be extra vigilant and cooperate with security agencies,” he said after visiting victims of the Grenade attack at the Kenyatta National Hospital where they were admitted.
14 people were wounded when a grenade was hurled at Mwaura’s pub in a dingy lane off Mfangano Street at about 2am.
Police dismissed reports that two people had been killed as reported by some media houses.
“Fourteen people have been injured and taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital,” Kibuchi said.
Al Shabaab insurgents have lately warned of reprisal attacks in the capital Nairobi to protest a Kenyan military offensive targeting them in lawless Somalia.
“We were called immediately it happened. We have been able to assess the damage and everything points to a grenade attack,” Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi said at the scene.
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 deny kidnapping the foreigners, have repeatedly warned of bloody retaliation.
Nairobi Central divisional police chief Eric Mugambi said: “It occurred when a man who posed as a patron knocked the door and when it was opened for him, he just hurled a grenade at the patrons inside and fled.”
“Investigations have been launched, there is little we can say at this point,” he added.
When Capital News arrived at the scene, police from the Anti-Terrorism Police unit backed by sniffer dogs were carrying investigations and restricted movement into the club from curious onlookers.
We witnessed broken glasses and chairs turned upside down, with blood splattered all over the floor in the pub.
“I was seated here… suddenly I heard a loud blast and everyone was trying to get to the entrance. I jumped and managed to get outside. I was not wounded because I was not seated near where the grenade landed,” Jeremiah Kiarie, a matatu tout said.
At the Kenyatta National Hospital, the victims who had been rushed there were still receiving treatment at the emergency wing of the casualty department when we arrived there at about 3 am.
Most of them suffered injuries to the head, hands and legs. Six had heavily bandaged on their heads.
“I just walked in to have a drink before I went home because I was working overnight. That is when a loud explosion occurred,” Lawrence Kioko, a chef at a restaurant in the Karen suburb said.
“I have injuries on my legs and face,” he said, fresh blood still soaked on his shirt.
Another patron Emily Nyambura told Capital News that she escaped with minor injuries since she had just stood up to go to the restroom when the explosion occurred.
“I have never been in a situation like that. The confusion and the screaming was just terrible. I don’t know how I got here,” she said and added that she suffered injuries on the legs but was among patients likely to be discharged.
The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Leresian later told Capital News that 12 of the victims had been discharged but two were still receiving treatment.
“All the others victims have been discharged, we only have two remaining here,” Leresian told Capital News on telephone.