3 dead in Nairobi 'bomb' attack

2010-12-21 10:40
Nairobi - Three people were killed and 23 wounded on Monday in a bomb attack on a bus in central Nairobi, police said.

The bus was bound for the Ugandan capital Kampala, where the local police chief had earlier warned of "strong indications" that Islamist militant groups were planning attacks over the Christmas period.

"Two more people have succumbed to injuries in hospital, the death toll is now three including the owner of the luggage that exploded in the bus," a senior Kenyan police officer at the scene of the blast told reporters.

"Twenty-three other people are admitted to hospital with various injuries," he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Kenyan Police Chief Mathew Iteere said one man who had abandoned a piece of luggage on a nearby street was arrested.

"We are now trying to link this luggage to the attack on the bus," he said.

Iteere did not explicitly call the blast a terrorist attack but mentioned "an explosive device" in one piece of luggage as the source of the blast.

Suicide bombers


As police sealed off the area, bomb experts collected evidence around the red Kampala Coach bus, which appeared to have suffered limited damage, an AFP correspondent reported.

One witness was quoted on Kenyan television describing what he said was an attack by three people who were attempting to board the bus and detonated an explosive device when a security guard tried to check their luggage.

Uganda's police chief, Kale Kayihura, had told AFP that the threats emanated from the Shabaab, a Somali insurgent group which has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, and the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan Islamist group.

His Kenyan counterpart said however that it was too early to link the Nairobi attack to the threats received by Kampala.

Uganda in July suffered East Africa's worst attacks in 12 years when suicide bombers struck two Kampala bars during the football World Cup final, killing 76 people.

Tighter security

The Shabaab claimed the co-ordinated bomb attacks and warned that any country supporting the central Somali government it is battling in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia would be a target.

Three Kenyan police officers were killed in two separate gun and grenade attacks in Nairobi earlier this month.

The motive behind the attacks on the police remains unclear and Kenya said it had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help it probe the incidents.

Following the attacks, Kenyan police arrested hundreds of people in the Eastleigh neighbourhood, an area overwhelmingly populated by Somalis, and argued that tighter security would be enforced during the holiday season.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa
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