Police arrest 4 suspects in connection with Nairobi bus station blast

By Julius Mokaya in Nairobi

March 12, 2012

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Kenya's anti-terror police unit arrested on Monday (March 12th) four suspects in connection with Saturday's grenade attack in Nairobi, in which at least six people were killed and more than 60 were injured.

  • The Machakos station is one of the busiest transport stations in Nairobi. [Julius Mokaya/Sabahi]

    The Machakos station is one of the busiest transport stations in Nairobi. [Julius Mokaya/Sabahi]

Four hand grenades were thrown from a passing vehicle into the Machakos bus station where people were either walking or standing waiting to board buses, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti told reporters on Sunday.

Dozens of buses were parked in the terminal, which was crowded with people heading outside the capital for the weekend.

"I thought it was a shooting incident and took cover in a matatu (minibus) that I had boarded," James Wainaina, a civilian who was at the Machakos bus station during the attack, told Sabahi. "When they had all blasted, I saw people running down and later saw several others lying on the ground."

"Such terrorists' acts on innocent civilians will not be tolerated and the government will do everything within its power to ensure that security of Kenyans is guaranteed," Saitoti told reporters on Sunday. "We suspect this is the work of al-Shabaab, but all this will come out in the investigations."

"The death toll is now six, and we have 63 people undergoing treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 11 of them were seriously injured," Saitoti said.

Saturday's attack was the deadliest since a June 2010 explosion, not attributed to Islamists, during a public meeting against the adoption of Kenya's new constitution, AFP reported.

The attacks took place a day after the Kenyan military cautioned the public to be vigilant of possible attacks by militants during their weekly media update on the war against al-Shabaab in Somalia.

One of the men arrested had been on a police wanted list in December accused of having ties to al-Shabaab, police said.

Chacha Mwita, a lawyer of the four suspects, said his clients are innocent. "One of them is Sylvester Opiyo who had been arrested earlier over claims he was a terror suspect and later released. The others are minors aged 13, 14 and 16," Mwita told Sabahi.

"We are still investigating the matter and we shall update you appropriately," Nairobi deputy police chief Moses Ombati told Sabahi on Monday.

There has been a string of attacks and explosions on Kenyan soil since last October, when Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabaab, which has on several occasions threatened attacks in Kenya. Last October, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for grenade attacks on a bar and another bus station, both near the scene of Saturday's attack.

"This is an act of people who think that they can puncture the resolve to fight terror. It is a difficult moment but it should strengthen our resolve and I am sure we will win," said Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Kenya Defence Forces fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia are due to be integrated into the African Union peacekeeping force this week.

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Reader's Comments

  • daniel
    May 22, 2012 @ 01:06:07AM

    can the government do door to door such in Estliegh for thos somalis who are here iligaly to stop attacks

  • Karuri
    May 19, 2012 @ 06:12:28AM

    This is just a begining coz if you mess up with fire you will definately get burnt.

  • alkebaab
    March 27, 2012 @ 06:41:48AM

    the war against the al shabab will only be won if it is fought in eastleigh.

  • ronadene
    March 20, 2012 @ 10:14:44AM

    never ending threats, I think this is a small-time attention-diverters trying to reinforce or divert our views, and political runway that's building up in an electioneering year. Our peace efforts at the Somali land is supported widely and the militants themselves won't have the capacity to enforce any major or meaningful attacks in our own soil. Kenyan security is one of Africa's water-tight, atleast internaly.

  • moses morompi
    March 20, 2012 @ 07:46:50AM

    I was thinking and start asking myself the rate of which Kenya have used to change is?for me it is like beyond the normal.iam praying for the government to work for their best and Kenyans to turn their minds and hope for the next generation.i love and proud of my country Kenya.God bless Kenya

  • caleb
    March 19, 2012 @ 08:33:37AM

    Thsi country need aserioucs search....................

  • kiprono yegon
    March 18, 2012 @ 11:59:33AM

    police should vow for high security mostly to nairobi people.

  • Erico
    March 17, 2012 @ 01:12:02PM

    Fighting terrorists is the worst and dedliest thing to conduct! This is coz some of them live amongst us,and they are capeble of revenging whenever they like. So the best way is to clear them from inside going outside.

  • gathecha
    March 17, 2012 @ 08:01:54AM

    this the only country we have and what come may must fully support the incurson and do the least by being vigilant otherwise we will have no country for our sons and daughters. "mahalamia wakomeshwe" ["down with terrorism"] should be our incursion slogan

  • ngeno victor
    March 16, 2012 @ 10:00:54AM

    for sure its not impressing at all it means that wherever we are we are not safe because the carlprits are mayating around.i think our army could have only chased the enemies to their boarder and mantain security thightly in the boarder the issue for real might take several yaers but lets give time and see.

    March 16, 2012 @ 04:54:32AM

    The only solution is to disesively win the war in somali we should not even think of withdrawing.

  • N.M sSiameto
    March 16, 2012 @ 04:26:53AM

    what is the government doing to ensure police efficiency as KDF guys are paid allowances police to are also involved in fighting alshaabs. compare police succes with that of KDf and number of police officer who have died in terro attacks?

  • john motaroki
    March 16, 2012 @ 04:15:43AM

    The govnt should styleup,why cant we beggin it from home before crossing the boundaries into the neighbours kitchen.Learn to play deffencive game men,otherwise we wonna loose alot of lives.

  • caroline muinde
    March 16, 2012 @ 02:23:50AM

    minister for Internal security must ensure that, Kenyans live in peace.we are fed up with these people by the name AL-SHABAB. please take stun measures.

  • Mosoti alex
    March 15, 2012 @ 03:57:28AM

    Obvious the matter is being investigated.That is the language .But 6 are dead and 63 seriously injured.Dont you people think thats's a great loss to the country? the other time it was a hotel,again country bus twice.The matter is being investigated.We have to think of otherwise or else we may end up loosing everything.Roughly more than 150 days, we are told they are about to enter KISMAYU.This gonna take decades. Think of any other tactics please.

  • guyshant
    March 15, 2012 @ 03:29:50AM

    As Kenyans we will not sit back and watch this happening.Let the internal security do there work and find this terrorists living among us, we need peace in Kenya.Let us eliminate the al_ shabab from our country.

  • lilian
    March 15, 2012 @ 02:26:04AM

    we need to pray to God to give us protection because so many people blame the police for insecurity but it's hard to take care of every one considering the population at the bus terminus.so we must be very carefull and avoid idling around at the congested areas.

  • francis
    March 13, 2012 @ 09:14:40AM

    are they not with us here?it`s high we started searching for them from all corner of the house .even if it means from house to house.lets use the intellegence in the ground.

  • Grace
    March 13, 2012 @ 04:55:11AM

    May it's about time to rethink the strategy. Get the Kenyan troupes back to Kenya as soon as possible and save our nation from further destruction. We can save substantial resources to be used in the construction of a wall running between Kenya and Somali border. In addition, Somali's currently living in Kenya, having enjoyed many years of Kenya's hospitality, can be assisted to resettle in Somali; with the militants, Alshabab and 'what have you' sympathisers leading the pack. They can do a better job than Kenya when it comes to generating practical solutions that cater for their needs.

  • geff
    March 13, 2012 @ 04:52:13AM

    no retreat no surrender alshabab must obey the gravitational force insurgence will not pour cold water on us coz we are the people and we have decided that Kenya needs respect.

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