Blast in Kenyan capital Nairobi

2012-12-17 12:48
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Nairobi - A huge blast shook the predominantly Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Sunday evening, police said.

"There has been an explosion in the area. We do not have any more details currently about the nature of the explosion or whether there are casualties involved," area police chief Moses Nyakwama told AFP.

Witnesses say there were at least three separate blasts and that the explosions occurred near a bar. The Kenya Red Cross, in a statement said that there had been "at least three separate grenade attacks" and that the grenades had been thrown from a speeding vehicle.

The blasts follow a recent grenade attack outside a mosque that killed at least five people as well as wounding the local member of parliament.

A recent roadside bomb in Eastleigh district killed one person and wounded several others. And last month, a bomb on a bus killed nine people.

Kenya has suffered a string of attacks, often blamed on al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militants, since it invaded Somalia last year.

Security ahead of elections

Kenyan troops, now integrated into an African Union force, seized the Shabaab bastion of Kismayo in September, a key southern Somali port. That led to warnings of retaliation from both the insurgents and their Kenyan supporters.

But the Shabaab have denied involvement in previous similar bombings.

Violence in Kenya - ranging from attacks blamed on Islamists, inter-communal clashes and 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 the Eastleigh district of Nairobi after the bombing of a bus, with running street battles between demonstrators and the police.

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Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa
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