Monday, October 24, 2011

One dead, 13 injured in second city blast

By NATION TEAM newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

At least one person was killed Monday evening and 13 others injured in a second explosion to hit Nairobi in 24 hours.

The 8pm explosion was believed to have been a grenade hurled at a moving matatu near a crowded terminus between Race Course and Landhies roads in Nairobi.

The injured were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment as security officers drawn from the General Service Unit and the police cordoned off the scene opposite the former Jack and Jill Supermarket.

The covered body of the dead person was still at the scene when the Nation team arrived.

Witnesses said the grenade was thrown at a matatu full of passengers, but bounced off its window and exploded in a crowd of people rushing to board buses.

A police officer, who sought anonymity, said they had collected the remains of the explosive device, which they identified as a hand grenade.

The Kaka matatu terminus serves the Kiambu, Githunguri and Ndumberi routes and is close to St Peter Claver’s Church, the Salvation Army Church and is only a few metres from the normally crowded OTC stage, which serves matatus to Nairobi’s Eastlands.

The last explosion at the OTC was the failed assassination attempt against then popular Nyandarua North MP JM Kariuki in 1975.

The explosion came hardly 24 hours after another hand grenade was hurled into a night club along Mfangano Lane in the city, injuring 14 people.

One of those injured in the second blast was taken to theatre in bad state. Most of the victims sustained injuries on their legs.

Following the two explosions, Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia announced a ban on fireworks displays during Diwali and Christmas festivities.

A major crackdown on illegal Somali immigrants was also under way in the country on Monday.

Arrests were reported in Malindi and Nakuru with some of those seized already charged in court.

Disowning operation

In Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, a suburb which has been nicknamed “little Mogadishu” because of the large number of Somali residents from Kenya and Somalia, tension was high.

In Somalia, cracks appeared in the military alliance fighting the Al-Shabaab with Transitional Federal Government President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed disowning Kenya’s security operation.

Even though he had welcomed and supported the joint operation five days ago, President Ahmed yesterday changed tune and said he only wanted Kenya to train and provide logistical support to his troops.

Reports from Somalia said the Kenyan military pushing towards Afmadow had moved beyond the town of Belec Qocani. Their TFG allies were near Afmadow.

Police in Malindi, which neighbours southern Somalia, said they had launched a major crackdown on foreigners fleeing from the war-torn country.

Area police boss Wellington Choka confirmed that 11 people of Somali origin were arrested on Sunday night in Robinson Island and Marereni in Magarini District.

In Nakuru, 10 illegal immigrants of Somali origin were charged with being in the country illegally. They denied being in the country illegally and were remanded in police custody until today when their case will be mentioned.

Meanwhile, leaders from North Eastern have urged local residents to support the military action against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Fifteen MPs and elders led by Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim told residents in Pangani, Nairobi, that the fight against the militia group was a war against “criminal elements and not targeted at the Somali community in Kenya.”

The leaders branded the militia an enemy unworthy of sympathy. Tension was also high in most towns of North Eastern on Monday following the killing of a chief in Mandera Town.

Jamal Ali Jahazi was shot by unknown people while coming from a mosque on Sunday evening.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said police will remain on high alert as the country’s defence forces continue with the crackdown on Al-Shabaab.

Meanwhile, France confirmed it is providing limited logistical support to Kenya’s offensive against Islamist rebels in Somalia, but denied reports that a French warship had bombarded the Somali coast.

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