Explosions wrack buses in Nairobi | News | DW | 04.05.2014
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Explosions wrack buses in Nairobi

Kenyan media say explosions on two packed commuter buses in Nairobi have killed at least two people and left scores of occupants wounded. The attacks follow twin blasts in Mombasa a day earlier that killed four people.

Two buses driving along a busy highway in central Nairobi were wracked by explosions on Sunday. The incidents followed four deaths on Saturday during a grenade attack at a bus stop in Mombasa (pictured), Kenya's port hub and second-largest city.

Footage on Kenyan television showed a large red passenger bus with a large hole ripped out of its side, and a green bus with its roof and sided buckled by an explosion, about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away.

Kenya's Disaster Operation Center said the bombings had killed two passengers and wounded 62, with 20 of them in critical condition -- mostly women and children.

Both buses nearly full

The Nation newspaper said the 45-seater vehicles were almost full when the blasts occurred.

Kenyan media said bombs had either been planted on the vehicles or grenades had been thrown at the buses driving along the Thika Highway, eight kilometers (five miles) from Nairobi's city center.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. After Saturday's bombings in Mombasa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had blamed "terrorists."

"The terrorists would like a war of religion, bringing to an end our history of tolerance. This country will not allow it," Kenyatta said.

Controversial crackdown

Kenya has experienced a series of attacks since it sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab.

Last year, it claimed responsibility for a September attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, which left at least 67 people dead. Last month, a car bomb exploded outside a Nairobi police station, killing four people.

In recent months, Kenyan security forces have staged a controversial series of arrests, ostensibly aimed at Islamists linked to al-Shabab.

Human rights groups have heavily criticized the Kenyan crackdown, saying police had indiscriminately targeted people of Somali origin instead of criminals. Radical Islamist leaders have also been gunned down.

Kenyan troops are still posted in southern Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting a fragile internationally backed government in Mogadishu.

Mombasa tense

In Mombasa on Saturday evening, a grenade was thrown into a crowd at a bus stop, killing four people and wounding 15 other bystanders. A second blast occurred at an upscale hotel but did not result in casualties.

Bomb alerts prompted police to blow up a suspect bag at a church. Residents said security had been tight in Mombasa before Sunday church services.

ipj/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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