NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Four Somali men charged in Kenya in connection with a blast last month at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) were denied bail on Wednesday after the country’s top prosecutor appealed a lower court’s decision to release them.
A magistrate ruled that the four could be bailed if they paid a bond of Sh20 million each, but the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko made a fast-track application to the High Court to have the bail decision overturned.
High Court judge Msagha Mbogholi ordered the suspension of the decision to grant bail, until Tobiko’s application could be heard in full.
The explosion took place on January 16 at a cafe adjacent to one of the terminal buildings in JKIA, the region’s busiest transport hub. There were no casualties.
Police initially played down the incident, insisting a “loose light bulb” had fallen into a waste paper basket.
After a bullet-ridden car containing a dead body and explosives was found the following morning at a housing estate near the airport, they were obliged to change their story.
Hassan Abdi Mohamed, Mohamed Osman Ali, Yusuf Warsame and Garad Hassan Fer were charged a week ago with being behind the attack.
Leonard Bwire, an officer with the police anti-terrorism unit, said the four had acquired Kenyan passports illegally.
Since Kenya sent troops into southern Somalia in October 2011 to help fight the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents, it has been hit by a series of attacks.
The Shabaab claimed last September’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, in which at least 67 people were killed.
Grenades have been hurled into restaurants in crowded areas in Nairobi as well as on the popular tourist Indian Ocean coast, and the remote northeast region bordering Somalia has seen a string of attacks.