Business, Finance & Economics

Kenya News: Nairobi on alert after 2 grenade attacks


Members of Kenya's General Paramilitary Service Unit patrol on the streets of Nairobi on October 24, 2011 following two grenade attacks on a local pub and a bus stop that together, killed one and wounded some 32 people. Police blame the grenade attacks on the Somali rebels, Al Shabaab. "We are linking the grenade attack to the threats that have been issued by Shabaab, and that is why I am appealing to city residents to be vigilant and cooperate with our officers," said Nairobi police chief Antony Kibuchi. The US embassy in Nairobi had warned Saturday of an "imminent threat" of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, one week after Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia to hunt down Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab fighters.


Tony Karumba

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya is on alert after two grenade attacks in less than 24 hours have killed at least one person and injured dozens more in the Kenyan capital.

The latest grenade attack targeted a bus stop in the city center where commuters were gathering for the evening journey home. One person was killed and 18 others injured, according to the Red Cross and police sources.

It was the second grenade attack of the day. In the small hours of Monday morning a grenade tossed into Mwauras, a downtown bar injured 14 people just days after the United States embassy issued a warning of a “imminent threat” of a terrorist attack here.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for either bombing and Kenya’s police commissioner said it was too early to say who was to blame but some are pointing the finger of blame at Somalia’s Islamist insurgents, who have threatened to launch terrorist attacks in the country in retaliation for Kenya’s invasion of Somalia earlier this month.

There were at least two deadly grenade attacks in Nairobi last year, neither of which was solved, but neither one was thought to be the work of Al Shabaab, the Islamic extremist rebels fighting to control Somalia.

If Al Shabaab was indeed responsible today's grenade attacks, the incidents fell well short of the group’s threats.

“Your skyscrapers will be destroyed, your tourism will disappear,” threatened Al Shabaab spokesman Mohamud Ali Rage last week.

On Saturday the U.S. embassy in Nairobi send text messages to American citizens warning of “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs.”

The bar hit by the grenade attack does not fit this bill. Among witnesses and victims at Mwauras was a cook from a nearby restaurant and a taxi tout.

But the grenade attacks have raised the level of fear in Kenya coming weeks after a string of kidnappings of foreigners that have threatened Kenya's tourist economy and triggered this month’s invasion.