An uneasy calm returned to Mombasa, the epicentre of deadly clashes between police and youth over the killing of cleric Aboud Rogo as President Kibaki arrived in the port city to open the Mombasa International Show Thursday.
The President arrived at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa shortly after 10.00 am where he was received by Coast leaders.
After two days of chaos that left three policemen dead, a contingent of General Service Unit (GSU) deployed to the troubled Majengo and Saba Saba areas restored normalcy on Wednesday. However, this lasted only hours.
Four officers were injured after a grenade was hurled at a police vehicle on patrol at Lebanon on Kenyatta Avenue.
Three of the four policemen are recuperating at the Pandya Memorial Hospital where they underwent surgery Wednesday night.
The fourth officer was treated and placed in the general ward as doctors monitor his condition.
The blast was the second to target policemen after a similar one claimed the life of two prison warders and injured fourteen others as they prepare to disperse rioters at Mwandoni in Kisauni Tuesday.
The riots had dissipated and calm restored after a large contingent of General Service Unit personnel was deployed across the city on Wednesday to restore law and order.
According to Doctor Khalil Amir, who received the officers after the blast, the victims suffered multiple injuries.
"We can say they are out of danger but they all needed surgery. They have varied head and limbs injuries which we are yet to establish the intensity. But definitely they needed surgery and we took them to the theatre,” said Dr Amir.
The Coast Provincial Officer in charge of operations Joseph Muthee accompanied the officers to the hospital to coordinate their admission and logistics.
Coast CID boss Ambrose Munyasia, while briefing journalists at the scene, discounted reports of a shoot-out between the police and the armed attackers.
"When they reached Lebanon area, they stopped at the roundabout to give way to other vehicles. That is when the young men who were walking by threw an explosive into vehicle, injuring the officers,” he said.
Eyes witnesses said they saw someone lob what later turned out to be an explosive into the police vehicle.
"I was driving when I saw someone throw something into the Landcruiser. The policemen inside jumped out and started shooting. I sped off after that because of the shootout,” said the witnesses, an employee with the Water Services Board in Mombasa.
Another witness, who was waiting at a nearby bus booking office to travel to Nairobi too confirmed seeing someone lob an object into the police vehicle.
“The object exploded and police officers jumped out. One of them even fell to the ground and appeared to have been hurt very badly.
"The policemen started firing at the suspects who also fired back at them. I ran into a nearby building for cover,” she said.
Lebanon area is near Mwembe Tayari, a busy part of town where most bus companies pick up and drop passengers.
Reported by Mark Agutu, Daniel Nyassy, Anthony Kitimo and Bozo Jenje