NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 8 – Three more people succumbed to injuries of Friday night’s grenade attack in Eastleigh, raising the death toll to five.
“Three people died last night, the death toll is now standing at five,” a police officer involved in the rescue operation said. Two other people had succumbed to injuries on arrival in hospital late Friday.
Police and hospital officials said sixteen others, including Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan were still admitted to hospital with injuries sustained in the attack that occurred outside Hidaya mosque where the legislator was addressing a crowd.
Kenya Red Cross officials said Hassan and his bodyguard were admitted to the Aga Khan hospital while the rest are receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo who visited the legislator on Saturday said “Hassan is doing well. He sustained injuries on the legs.”
The grenade was hurled at worshippers leaving the popular mosque minutes after the end of the evening prayers. A handful of protesters took to the streets soon after the blast but were quickly contained by a heavy police presence.
The Friday evening incident follows a roadside bomb explosion also in Eastleigh district on Wednesday evening that killed one person and wounded eight others, as well as a bomb on a bus last month also in Eastleigh that killed nine.
Eyewitnesses say that police and rescue organisations are currently in the area in a security operation and that residents remain locked up in their houses.
“Three ambulances are in the area. Police are patrolling, many residents have locked themselves in their houses,” Joe Chaudhry an area resident told AFP via phone soon after the incident.
Kenya has suffered a string of attacks often blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants since it invaded Somalia last year.
Kenyan troops, now integrated into an African Union force, seized the Al Shabaab bastion of Kismayu in September, a key southern Somali port, prompting warnings of retaliation from both the insurgents and their Kenyan supporters.
Al Shabaab militants have denied involvement in previous similar bombings.
The Muslim Youth Centre (MYC), a Kenyan Islamist group that has pledged its support to the Al Shabaab, were swift to highlight the blast on its Twitter site noting a “boom in Eastleigh”, but not claiming responsibility.
Violence in Kenya — ranging from attacks blamed on Islamists to inter-communal clashes to a police crackdown on a coastal separatist movement — have raised concerns over security ahead of elections due in March 2013.
Five years ago, elections descended into deadly post-poll killings that shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
Last month, riots broke out in Eastleigh district after the bombing of a bus, with running street battles between demonstrators and the police.