NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – The man who died when a hand grenade went off at the OTC bus stage in Nairobi on Monday night was suicide bomber.
Police said they have been able to identify the deceased man as being part of a wider terrorist group involved in various attacks in the city centre, including robberies and other armed crime.
“We believe that he is the one being used by terrorists,” Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi said.
Kibuchi said he will be releasing the man’s identity to the public later Wednesday.
He said their investigations had revealed the man died when he detonated a hand grenade at the OTC bus stop, where sixteen other people were wounded.
“He was also involved in various robbery incidents in town,” the PPO added. The police chief did not want to comment on reports that the man had been arrested and released on several occasions previously.
The man did not have any identification documents on him when he hurled a grenade at a congested stage in down town Nairobi where he targeted a massive population of city residents scrambling for public transport, hours after another grenade detonated inside a pub, wounding 14 people.
In the OTC incident, the suicide bomber was killed while sixteen other people were wounded, three of them seriously.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has vowed to mount massive swoops in the country to rid the country of terrorist groups and their associates, in the wake of real terror threats issued by Al Shabaab insurgents opposed to a military offensive in their country.
Kenya sent its troops to Somalia two weeks ago in an offensive aimed at driving off Al Shabaab insurgents kilometers away from the country’s common border where they are blamed for a series of kidnappings, including recent ones of four European women seized from Lamu Island and Dadaab refugee camp.
Marie Dedieu, a Frenchwoman who was taken out of her beach house in Lamu earlier this month died in captivity in Somalia two weeks ago. Her government believes her abductors had failed to give her medicine even after receiving it from contact persons. The wheelchair-bound woman had been on medication for a while.
Three other women abducted from Kenya—a Briton and two Spaniards—are still in the hands of abductors in Somalia.
“We have vowed that we are going to drive these people out of town, we will not let a small group disturb the peace of Kenyans,” the police commissioner said when he displayed some 13 hand grenades and an assortment of firearms seized from a house in Kayole estate where a suspected terrorist was arrested, Nairobi on Tuesday night.
Capital News has independently learnt that police are also questioning a man believed to be an accomplice of the suspected terrorist to ascertain if he has links with the grenades and cache of firearms seized from the Kayole house.
The house in which the grenades were recovered is a few yards away from the Kayole police station.
The two were likely to appear court later Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Police said they were trying to establish if the two were linked with recent grenade attacks in which a suicide bomber died and 30 other people wounded.
Since Monday’s grenade attacks, police in Kenya announced they had stepped up security and warned Kenyans to exercise caution particularly when in the capital Nairobi.
The warnings follow fears that Al Shabaab insurgents who have warned of reprisal attacks may hit target areas within the city to protest a military offensive in their lawless country Somalia.
The military offensive in Somalia was launched after high profile kidnappings of four European women seized from Lamu Island and Dadaab refugee camp in Northern Kenya, including that of Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu who died while in captivity in Somalia. Police have blamed the kidnappings on Al Shabaab.
The American embassy in Nairobi at the weekend warned of credible threats targeting places frequented by foreigners in Nairobi, further heightening fears of a possible terror attack.