NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – It has now emerged that one of the people who was injured in Tuesday night’s grenade attack at a Mombasa nightclub was among the attackers.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said the suspect was identified by officers in Mombasa as a wanted man who comes from Kibera in Nairobi.
“Soon after the attack occurred an investigation was launched and as a result, our officers were able to establish that one of the wounded people who had been taken to hospital was actually part of the group that attacked,” Iteere told journalists at a press conference in Nairobi.
He said the suspect was found with a bus ticket indicating he was due to travel to Nairobi at 10pm, seemingly soon after carrying out the attack.
“The attack occurred at 9.15pm so it seems he was to travel immediately thereafter back to Nairobi. We then went to the bus company where we retrieved his luggage which was already in the bus and the items recovered in it confirms he was part of the group,” the police chief said, revealing they recovered a magazine loaded with nine rounds of ammunition and a laptop from the suspect’s luggage.
“We are confident we have the right person… this is one of the attackers. There is no doubt about that, and he will help us get the others he was working with, from the investigations. He had purposely travelled to Mombasa to commit this attack,” Iteere said.
The attack occurred at Belle Vista, a popular nightclub on Moi Avenue where attackers hurled grenades and opened fire after a commotion with guards who had wanted to search them before they could allow them in.
One person, a female security guard, succumbed to injuries in hospital while three others – including one of the attackers are still admitted to hospital.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Iteere told journalists four grenades were hurled at the club.
One of them shot indiscriminately at the guards before he dropped a pistol loaded with nine rounds of ammunition just near the bar’s entrance. Police said they had taken the pistol for ballistic analysis as part of the investigation.
The attack occurred hours after an earlier one in Dadaab where a police vehicle was blown up by a landmine as the officers escorted aid workers.
An Administration Police officer was killed while four others wounded.
Iteere said the wounded officers had been airlifted to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) was a bad day for us because we had two attacks; we have intensified security in our country,” the police chief said and blamed the attacks on the notorious Al Shabaab group.
“There are a lot of young people who crossed into Somalia to train. Some of them have been coming back into the country and these are the people we believe are bringing these grenades here,” Iteere said and denied the grenades were similar to the ones used by security forces in the country.
He said the weapons either originate from Russia or China.