NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27- Two people on Saturday night sustained ‘slight’ injuries after a suspected Improvised Explosive Device exploded at Latema-Tom Mboya junction in Nairobi.
According to police and witnesses, the luggage sealed in a box had the explosives.
Those injured included the person pulling the trolley carrying the luggage and a newspaper vendor.
Nairobi Regional Commander Reuben Ndolo said no suspect was immediately arrested following the 7.27pm incident that comes 12 days after the 14 Riverside drive attack that left 21 dead.
“I want to urge Kenyans to fight this war of terrorism together with us by ensuring that you know your neighbour,” Ndolo appealed.
He urged members of the public with information that may help police nab those behind the incident or any other suspicious activity to alert authorities.
Revellers at adjacent restaurants and bars told Capital FM News that they heard a loud blast that would have been mistaken for a crash.
They however said that within a record two minutes, police patrolling the city had arrived at the scene and cordoned it off.
It was a blast that was heard within a radius of one kilometre.
“I was at I&M building when I heard the blast,” a junior officer who rushed to the scene told this reporter.
Another resident of the city who did not give his name said he was enjoying coffee at a restaurant along Standard Street when he heard the explosion.
Michael Saitoti was enjoying his drink when he heard the blast.
“It was so loud but there was no smoke or something else to indicate it was an explosive. We thought it was an accident between two vehicles,” he told Capital News.
According to police, the suspect who was carrying the luggage with explosive had just alighted from a public service vehicle.
He asked for transport services from one the injured person but alleged he had forgotten his Identity Card and needed to rush for it in the car.
A few minutes later, the explosion was heard.
Police were on Saturday night going through the Jogoo House manned CCTV on the street in a bid to trace the suspect and his movements.
-Chaotic Tom Mboya Street-
The first officers who responded at the scene had a hard time controlling crowds of people along the busy street.
No one wanted to miss what was happening despite the imminent danger on their lives.
The crowds were only dispersed when the dreaded General Service Unit officers were deployed at the scene.
Even this, some had to be clobbered out of the place.
Notably, the street was poorly lit, largely by lights emanating from the buildings while most of the street lights were not working.
“It has been like this (dark) for quite some time now,” Meshack Maingi, a trader at the street said.
The scene of the incident and the entire Tom Mboya Street and Latema Road are used by tens of public service vehicles carrying passengers moving to various parts of the city.
-Explosion amidst alertness-
The incident happened when police are on high alert following the January 15 terror attack that claimed 21 lives at 14 Riverside drive complex.
This was after four terrorists blasted their way to the complex shooting anyone on sight.
The fifth attacker blew himself up outside a restaurant within the expansive facility.
More than 10 suspects among them a Canadian are held in police custody awaiting completion of the investigations.
The Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility claiming it was a revenge against the United States following President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel. The US has since moved its embassy to Jerusalem.
Nairobi, the largest city within East Africa has overtime suffered from terror attacks that have claimed tens of people including security officers.
On September 21, 2013, four terrorists attacked Westgate shopping mall killing 69 people while more than a hundred others sustained injuries.
They siege lasted for four days.
Counties bordering the war-torn Somalia have also not been spared as Al-Shabaab militants take advantage of its porous nature to launch pockets of attacks before retreating to their hideouts.
On April 2, 2015, 148 people, majority of them students were killed when the militants attacked Garissa University College.
Some 79 others sustained gunshot injuries.
Kenya Defence Forces are part of a 22,000 strong Africa Union Missions in Somalia fighting Al-Shabaab militants.
The terror group has greatly been incapacitated but they still have the ability to launch attacks within Somalia and the region.