Attacks mar Kenya 50th independence anniversary

2013-12-15 12:43
The Kenyan Army band plays during the Jamhuri (Independence) Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. (Sayyid Azim, File, AP)

The Kenyan Army band plays during the Jamhuri (Independence) Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. (Sayyid Azim, File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Thirteen people have been killed in four attacks in Kenya during week-long celebrations to mark the country's 50th anniversary of independence, including the first attack on tourists in two years.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks - the most recent of which was an explosion on a Nairobi bus that killed four people Saturday - and there have been no arrests.

Kenya has been the target of sustained attacks since the army sent troops into neighbouring Somalia to fight the country's al-Qaeda-linked Shebaab insurgents in October 2011.

Eastern Kenya, along the 700km border with Somalia, has been particularly hard hit.

Experts are reluctant to draw any link between the armed conflict with the Shebaab and the latest series of attacks. One Western observer said that, as yet, there was "no evidence" to link the attacks.


Late on Friday, one person was killed and three injured in a double explosion at a market in the town of Wajir, some 100km from the Somali border.

On Tuesday, eight people were killed, including five policemen, in the Garissa region some 20km from the Somali frontier after their vehicle was attacked in an apparent ambush.

Another policeman is missing following the attack.

And Saturday's bus attack blew the vehicle apart, turning it into a mangled metal skeleton and sending shrapnel flying through the air. Four people died and 36 were wounded.

There was also a rare attack on tourists during the week in the popular tourist location of Mombasa, a predominantly Muslim city.

A grenade thrown at a minibus transporting British tourists hit a window, but did not explode. It was the first attack on tourists since 2011.

The British tourists were en route to the famous Masai Mara safari park.

In September 2011, British tourist David Tebbutt was killed as he fought kidnappers in a luxury tourist village on the Kenyan coast, not far from Somalia.

His wife, Judith, was captured and taken to Somalia, where she was freed after six months of captivity.

In the same year, a Frenchwoman living in Kenya, Marie Dedieu, was kidnapped by Somali gunmen from her beachfront home in Lamu, in the south-east of the country, and subsequently died.

"Mombasa has been targeted, but it is true that this attack against tourists is a novelty," the Western observer noted.

He said it was "very different" from the recent Westgate shopping mall terror attack, which left 72 dead.

That attack, in mid-September, was even deadlier than the bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya in 1998, which left 67 dead.

Many attacks remain unclaimed, though the finger of suspicion is often pointed at jihadists.

However, the authorities in the border regions and several other areas of Kenya know there are sometimes serious conflicts between tribes caused by issues such as access to water or grazing land, which can be fuelled by local politicians.

These conflicts, especially in areas where there is deadly weaponry, regularly escalate.
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  kenya  |  east africa  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.