NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Seven people were killed and more than 30 others wounded when an explosive went off aboard a minibus in Nairobi on Sunday, police said.
Nairobi police chief Moses Nyakwama said the bomb blast occurred inside a matatu in Eastleigh, although it was not immediately clear if the attacker was on board.
Nyakwama said: “We had an explosion in the matatu and what we have immediately suffered are the deaths of five people. Over 18 others are admitted mainly at the Kenyatta national Hospital and there could be more as a result of flying objects.”
The Kenya Red Cross later put the death toll at seven and 30 wounded.
The minibus was on Eastleigh’s Second Avenue and was headed to Kariobangi when the blast occurred.
The police chief said that there was probability that the improvised explosive device was planted in the vehicle and was detonated from a safe distance.
“It could have been brought in earlier and detonated from afar or set with timings to blow up,” said the PPO adding that no suspect had been arrested as claimed by some witnesses.
A witness John Mdari, who says he stood meters away from the scene of the explosion, claimed that the explosive was thrown into the number 28 matatu by four suspects, who fled in a waiting saloon car.
He said that one of the four who failed to board the car on time was arrested by the public and was being held at the Pangani Police station after being rescued.
“A young man was seen alighting from the matatu before the explosion happened. He was caught by the public but I managed to rescue him from the mob and handed him to the police,” he said.
The matatu driver Benson Kibe who survived the explosion could not recollect what happened apart from hearing a loud blast that tore his vehicle apart. He says he only braked thinking he had caused an accident.
Kibe told reporters at the scene that he had picked up 25 passengers from an area popularly known as garage in Eastleigh and was headed to Kariobangi.
“I cannot remember what happened; I cannot tell if those behind the attack were in this vehicle or outside. What I heard was the force that lifted the vehicle then I stopped to look if I had caused an accident but I had not,” he recollected.