Kenya blames al-Shabaab for weekend attacks

By Julius Mokaya in Nairobi

April 03, 2012

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Kenyan leaders blamed al-Shabaab for two attacks targeting a church and a restaurant in the Mombasa area on Saturday (March 31st), condemning the violence and vowing arrests soon.

  • Kenyan police officers stand guard in northeast Kenya. The Kenyan government has bolstered security in tourist areas ahead of the Easter holiday. [Stringer/AFP]

    Kenyan police officers stand guard in northeast Kenya. The Kenyan government has bolstered security in tourist areas ahead of the Easter holiday. [Stringer/AFP]

"We will use all resources available to eliminate this terror group," said Kenyan Internal Security Minister George Saitoti in Mombasa while consoling victims at the Coast General Hospital. "Let Kenyans be alert always. We will not tire of hunting for these people until we finish them. They have ruined their country and now they have come here to ruin Kenya's economy."

One person was killed and 33 wounded in Saturday's attacks. The first attack took place about 6.30 p.m., targeting a gathering of Christians at an open-air prayer meeting in Mtwapa, 10 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The second attack hit a bar in Mombasa's Tononoka neighbourhood at about 7 p.m.

The blasts come less than a month after another explosive attack at the country's largest and busiest public transport station in Nairobi, in which nine people were killed and 60 injured. The police and Kenyan government also blamed this attack on al-Shabaab.

The minister said the government will protect Kenyans and visitors from al-Shabaab, which he said wants to destabilise Kenya.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga reassured tourists and citizens that the government has beefed up security, adding that people collaborating with the attackers will be arrested.

"Our police have unearthed very crucial evidence, which we cannot share publicly. They are following very good leads as they try to arrest those behind these heinous acts," said Odinga, who also toured the affected areas and visited victims in the hospital.

"Kenya is safe. No one should threaten tourists. They should continue coming to Kenya and the government will protect them," he told the media.

The prime minister's spokesperson, Dennis Onyango, told Sabahi that more security officials have been sent to the coast to strengthen security for the Easter holiday season, as Mombasa is Kenya's main holiday destination.

"The prime minister has ordered the police and other security agents to move with speed and beef up security in all areas on the coast and other parts of the country which could be possible targets for terrorists," he said.

Hours after officials blamed the al-Qaeda-affiliated group for the attacks, al-Shabaab posted a message on its Twitter account warning of more attacks in Kenya as long as the Kenya Defence Forces continue their military operations in Somalia.

Kenya's Operation Linda Nchi has worked to eradicate al-Shabaab from southern Somalia since October, following a series of attacks and kidnappings by al-Shabaab in Kenya's coastal areas. The kidnappings mainly targeted foreign tourists. This month, the Kenyan troops integrated into AMISOM.

"The Kenyan public must be aware that the more Kenyan troops continue to persecute innocent Muslims of Somalia, the less secure Kenyan cities will be; and the more oppression the Muslims of Somalia feel, the more constricted Kenyan life will be," the militant group warned. "Such is the law of retribution. Your security depends on our security. It is a long, protracted war, and Kenyans must neither harbour a reason for optimism nor hope for triumph."

Sheikh Juma Ngao, chair of the Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council, condemned the attacks as unjustified and contrary to the Constitution of Kenya.

"This is an infringement on other people's rights to assembly and worship. It is a cowardly act and must be condemned," he told Sabahi. "The constitution guarantees and protects the rights of everybody and it should be respected. The government should deal firmly and decisively with those behind the attacks regardless of their faith."

On Monday, the Coast General Hospital announced that people injured in the attacks were safe.

"I can confirm that most of the patients, about 20 of them, have been discharged and the remaining ones are out of danger. Even the young boy, whose condition was serious, has been moved out of intensive care unit and will only require an eye expert to operate on one of his eyes," Dr. Maurice Simuyu, the hospitals' regional medical director, told Sabahi.

Coast regional police chief Aggrey Adoli told Sabahi that improvised explosive devices were used in the attacks, and police are trying to establish if another terror group could have been involved in the attacks.

"We are continuing with the investigations and al-Shabaab is among those terror groups we are investigating," he said. "Our initial investigations indicate that what were used in the attacks were improvised explosive devices, but we are still going on to establish exactly what type of devices they were and their possible source."

He also said that security had also been enhanced at key installations, such as the Mombasa-based Kenya Petroleum Refineries, Ltd.

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Reader's Comments

  • tracy. R
    April 26, 2012 @ 02:46:33PM

    God's guidance is the best not only in defeating terrorism but also in creating a better kenya

  • MIRRIAM KIARIE
    April 19, 2012 @ 05:48:56AM

    These people needs to know that there is a living God who is very just and fair to all his people.So its their high point to think back and recall to all the damage that they have caused to very many innocent people allover.May God forbid and make them realize what they are doing.

  • anne njoki
    April 19, 2012 @ 05:47:42AM

    please help us with prayers, that what can defeat terrolism

  • DAVI
    April 18, 2012 @ 09:25:14AM

    Why do people think that the Alshabab are not human, ware Kenyan troups triggerring whatever they cannot handle. My advice is Kenyan soldiers to move from the alshabaab and the Land of Somalia. We are not always saviours. We dont have to suffer for people who like their lives in struggle. So,if there are good people in Somalia, where are they????????/

  • emalingati
    April 18, 2012 @ 09:11:32AM

    lets act like american never negotiet with alshabab

  • KINYUA FRESH
    April 16, 2012 @ 10:15:46AM

    LET US WORK HARDER TO FINISH ALSABAAB

  • VICTOR
    April 16, 2012 @ 10:13:48AM

    GOOD WORK FOR KENYA TO BRING PEACE

  • samuel
    April 14, 2012 @ 06:13:16AM

    they should all be condemned to hell not heaven with 20 virgins thats just crap

  • hash
    April 11, 2012 @ 12:35:14PM

    good work

  • misheck kariuki
    April 10, 2012 @ 08:55:03AM

    may kenyans be alert at alltimes everywhere.Avoid crowded places and report suspicious suspects immediatery to the police.

  • Duncan Otieno
    April 10, 2012 @ 08:48:49AM

    what Al-shabaab believes on, doesn't prefigure the loving and caring Allah who we believe is great. If we ought it to be then, it follows that Allah is a murderer as well as a terrorist, something that is not worth to attribute to God who is the creator and cannot at any moment destroy what He prefer as good.

  • James Kuria
    April 9, 2012 @ 12:34:00PM

    At this time that our country is facing threat from our enemies Al'Shabaab, Kenyans should be advised to avoid crowded places. If it is hard to do so, they should remain vigilant and suspect anything that is not obvious. They should however seek advice on how to identify a militant element. Furthermore, Kenyans should keep praying for the KDF at this hard time and also for the job well done.

  • Abdulwahab Ali
    April 6, 2012 @ 11:54:41AM

    my comment there is no where in the Holy Quran that justify of killing inocent people . there is a verce in the Holy Quran Allah says do not buner the House where Nane of God is mentioned. what al shaba is doing it is a BIG SIN. al shabab are not good Muslims they should repent to Allah befor they dei.

  • dave
    April 6, 2012 @ 11:05:10AM

    please help us with prayers, that what can defeat terrolism

  • Niine Farah
    April 5, 2012 @ 05:24:16PM

    That happened the night after I left there. And security men normally waste time on Somalis living places. No, the security men should watch Kenyan muslims because the Somalis in Kenya are peaceful. If they wanted wars they shouldn't have left Somalia.I feel sorry for all innocents while I would tell security men and women to not obsess on Somalis. These months the police are not too bad as they used to be. May be the new constitution done some good and I voted yes while I was a fake Kenyan.

  • Kris Wamapesa
    April 5, 2012 @ 11:13:01AM

    It is time the Kenya leaders realised the importance of the Kenya Defence Force as an International professional force with high integrety that has buffled the World superpowers of their tact and precission to eliminate a world gang the Al-shabaab. Bravo KDF. Almighty God be your guide and strength.

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