Kenya hit by two separate attacks in one day

By Bosire Boniface in Wajir

May 17, 2012

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Kenyan security agents are pursuing the culprits behind two separate attacks on Tuesday (May 15th) that left two people dead and seven injured.

  • Police and members of the public gather at the scene of Tuesday night's blast at Bella Vista restaurant in Mombasa that killed one person and wounded four. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]

    Police and members of the public gather at the scene of Tuesday night's blast at Bella Vista restaurant in Mombasa that killed one person and wounded four. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]

In Mombasa, a security guard was killed and five people injured when a gunman opened fire at the Bella Vista restaurant at about 9:30 pm, according to Kenyan police. When guards at the restaurant prevented the gunman and two accomplices from entering, they hurled grenades into the restaurant and fled.

One of the grenades exploded near the entrance and the other near a car parked outside.

Coast Provincial Criminal Investigations Officer Ambrose Munyasya told Sabahi that a pistol and nine rounds of ammunition were recovered from the scene. He said the pistol would be dusted for fingerprints to help identify the culprits and their motives.

Munyasya said the injured were taken to Agha Khan Hospital and Coast Provincial General Hospital, and doctors say those admitted are in stable condition.

One of the injured is a suspect in the attack and remains under police guard. Police arrested him on Tuesday after discovering he booked a bus ticket to leave Mombasa after the attack.

"We have retrieved a bus ticket from him and when our officers went to the bus station, they found his luggage, which had a magazine loaded with eight rounds of ammunition," Police Chief Mathew Iteere told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday. "We also got a laptop from him which we are analysing."

He added that police had been watching the suspect for some time and were looking for him "in connection with various other attacks".

"We are pursuing crucial leads in both the Mombasa and Dadaab refugee camp attacks into the identity of the attackers," Deputy Police spokesman Charles Owino told Sabahi. "The Dadaab attack bore the hallmark of al-Shabaab sympathisers and the officers on the ground are in pursuit of those who planted the landmines."

The attack in Dadaab refugee complex Tuesday morning killed a policeman and seriously injured three others when their vehicle hit a landmine as they escorted aid workers near the Dagahaley refugee camp.

North Eastern Provincial Police Officer Leo Nyongesa told Sabahi that the injured officers were flown to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. The officers were in the lead vehicle that was providing security for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees aid workers, he said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and police are looking for suspects, Nyongesa said.

Kibet Mengich, Kenyatta National Hospital's communications officer, said the three officers who were injured in Dadaab refugee camp attack were admitted to the hospital. "They have bad injuries but are in stable condition," he told Sabahi.

Ahmed Moulid Hassan, a 23-year-old refugee in Dagahaley camp, told Sabahi that he heard a loud explosion followed by gunshots a few minutes after the convoy passed by his shop.

"The vehicle was ripped on its front and the open bonnet was twisted and the officers did not want anyone very close to the scene," he said.

Hassan said many refugees in the camp condemned the attack because it fuelled fears that the camps are not safe for aid workers.

Assistant Minister for Provincial Administration and Internal Security Joshua Orwa Ojode told parliament on Wednesday that Kenyan security forces were on high alert following the two incidents.

He said the government will invest in closed-circuit television cameras to the tune of 80 billion shillings (almost $1 billion) to improve the country's security.

Ojode was responding to Kamukunji parliamentarian Yussuf Hassan Abdi who asked what the government was doing to address the security situation in the country.

The Dadaab incident comes after more than two months without attacks aimed at security agents and aid workers in the refugee camps.

Speaking at Saint Peter's Catholic Church in Garissa during a joint prayer and thanksgiving service for security officers from all agencies on May 6th, North Eastern Deputy Provincial Commissioner Jeremiah Were said the calm the region was experiencing should not be taken for granted.

"Do not be carried away by the calm we have witnessed since criminal elements strike when least expected," he said.

Were said all vehicles should be thoroughly screened at the various security check points in the province.

"We never know who might be in the vehicle or what it might be carrying," he said. "We need to remain extra vigilant."

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Reader's Comments

  • joel osigah
    May 18, 2012 @ 08:14:00AM

    from the story of the mombasa attack,next time security personnel should take charge of all bus stations and parks to privent those culprits from escapping after their attacks.

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