Grenade blast in Mombasa bar | Africa | DW | 25.06.2012
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Africa

Grenade blast in Mombasa bar

At least three people have been killed and more than 25 injured in a grenade attack in Mombasa, Kenya. It came just two days after the United States warned that such an attack was about to take place.

The hand grenade was thrown into a crowded bar in Mombasa as fans were watching the Euro 2012 football match between England and Italy on television.

Police said the blast tore through the Jericho bar in the densely populated Mishomoroni district of the city at 10 pm local time.

One person was killed in the explosion and two later died from their injuries in hospital.

A witness, George Lado, told the AFP news agency he saw one area of the bar being "blown off" before he started to run away.

Later on Monday, police said they had arrested a suspect, a man in his twenties who was injured in the blast and taken to hospital.

On Friday, the US embassy alerted its citizens that they had received information on an "imminent threat of a terrorist attack on Mombasa."

Yet just hours before the attack Kenyan officials had denounced the US warning.

Two Iranians detained

The head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia said it was "a reckless advisory and totally uncalled for." Other Kenyan officials said it was aimed at "sabotaging the country's economy" and had written to the US embassy asking them to reverse their decision.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka had told local media that as a country Kenya could not allow itself even for a minute to be held to ransom by claims of a terror threat. "Tourists should ignore travel advisories and visit our country," he said.

But the United States wasn't the only nation sounding a note of caution.

France's embassy in Nairobi also warned its citizens to be "extremely vigilant" in Mombasa and the surrounding area.

A man injured in a blast receives treatment at the Coast General Hospital in Mombasa June 24, 2012. An explosion hit a night club in Kenya's port of Mombasa on Sunday, killing one person, police said, a day after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent attack on the city. Local media said three people had been killed in the blast. Eight people wounded in the explosion were taken to hospital, police said. REUTERS/Joseph Okanga (KENYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

Tee US embassy warned on Friday of an "imminent" terrorist threat

Just days earlier Kenyan police had detained two Iranians: one in Nairobi on Wednesday, the other a day later in Mombasa.

They were suspected of having links to a terror network planning bombings in Mombasa and in the capital Nairobi.

Their interrogation had led the police to seize two small bags of chemicals that would serve to make explosives.

Somalia intervention

Sunday night's attack was just the latest in a series of such incidents this year. A bombing at a Nairobi shopping center in May left dozens wounded.

The same month, a restaurant in Mombasa was hit by a grenade that killed one person, as two separate attacks wounded at least eight people in the northeast of the country near the Somalia border.

Since Kenya invaded southern Somalia in October 2011 to help oust al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab insurgents, it has seen a wave of grenade attacks and kidnappings of foreign tourists, blamed on the Shabab or their supporters. But Kenya's intervention there was itself in response to attacks on foreign tourists in Kenya.

This latest attack could hit tourism there even further. And the money from foreign holidaymakers is a key earner for the east African nation. The Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics says tourism earnings totalled KSh 73.7 billion (701 million euros) in 2010, an increase of nearly 18 percent on the previous year.

Author: Mark Caldwell (AFP, Reuters, AP, Capital FM Nairobi)
Editor: Asumpta Lattus

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