Blood and tears as blasts rock Mombasa
At least four people were killed last night and scores injured when explosions rocked Mombasa as police heightened security in the coastal town.
He said the blast was set off by a hand grenade that was hurled at a group of people at the Mwembe Tayari bus terminal as they waited for transportation to their destination.
Eyewitnesses are conflicted as some say the grenade was hurled from a probox while others say it was from a motorcycle.
The blast in the central business district also ripped apart a Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal. The bus usually plies the Thika-Mombasa-Malindi route.
The blast also affected the rear section of another bus that was parked nearby.
The other blast went off in Nyali near a popular resort, but no one was injured.
Nelson Marwa, The Mombasa county police commissioner said that two women and one man died on the spot.
The blasts came at a time when police have heightened security over looming threats from Al-Shabaab terrorists who have previously been blamed for past explosions in the Coast and Nairobi.
Eye witnesses and emergency rescue workers told the Sunday Nation that they had counted at least three people who had succumbed to injuries from the blast at the Kenol/Kobil petrol station opposite Coast Bus terminus.
Police and rescue workers rushed at least twenty two people to the Coast General Provincial Hospital where one other person lost their life raising the death toll to four.
Heavily armed police and emergency services rushed to the scenes of the blasts to rescue the injured and secure the area.
There was confusion as crowds milled around the scene as emergency workers rushed to the rescue. Mombasa County police commander Robert Kitur led the security operation.
“We are aware of two explosives in Mombasa county. We are already at the scenes and there is no need to panic. Everything is under control,” said Mr Kitur.
The second explosion went off at the Reef Beach Resort was said to have been caused by a bag left behind by a man of Caucasian origin.
“The man walked towards the beach leaving his bag and made as if to swim. He however, surreptiously left the beach and the explosion happened soon thereafter,” said Mr. Marwa.
No one was injured however the blast caused panic that was fuelled further by claims that other public places in the city were targets for attacks.
Residents stayed away from the usually bustling streets of Mombasa however Mr. Marwa was quick to reassure the residents that their safety was assured as they would tighten security.
“We will secure all bus and matatu terminals starting Sunday to thwart any further attacks on members of the publics. I urge all the residents to ignore th erumours doing rounds and go about their normal business,” he added.
This week, the government deployed 700 security personnel to the Coast to help deal with insecurity in the region.
Speaking during a security meeting at the county commissioner’s boardroom in Mombasa on Tuesday last week, the County Police Commander Kitur said the officers include regular police, Administration Police and officers from the General Service Unit.
Mr Kitur commended the government for increasing the number of security officers at the Coast.
Mombasa County commissioner Mr Nelson Marwa said apart from the deployment of the additional security personnel, there are other security measures being put in place.
These include improvement of infrastructure, deployment of more officers to the new police station at the Likoni Ferry channel and new scanners for the Kenya Ferry Services to deal with insecurity at the channel.
“The government has increased the number of police officers at the Coast with some being those who recently graduated from the Kenya Police College in Kiganjo, Administration Police College in Embakasi and GSU recruits,” he said.
“We thank the government for supporting us in terms of personnel. We have more than 700 officers on top of those we have in the region,” he added.
In March the state of insecurity prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to dispatch his deputy William Ruto to Mombasa to meet with leaders and security chiefs to work out ways of fighting back terrorism.
The government also launched a major operation to weed out aliens, some of whom are suspected to be supporting or working for terror networks.
The government is also grappling with extremist cleric who are accused of radicalising youth Muslims.
April 23, 2014: Two policemen among four people killed in Nairobi after a suspicious car that they had intercepted exploded as it was being taken to the Pangani Police Station.
March 31, 2014: Six people are killed and dozens others seriously injured in blasts in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.
March 30, 2014: A suspected terrorist dies and a Madrassa is destroyed when an explosive device he was assembling prematurely goes off in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
March 23, 2014: Two gunmen enter a church in Mombasa and shoot at the congregation. Two people die on spot while four others succumb to injuries in hospital pushing the death toll to six.
March 18, 2014: Detectives in Mombasa and Federal Bureau of Investigations, seize 270 rounds of ammunition, one AK-47 rifle, Improvised Explosive Devices, grenades, detonators and mobile phone for detonating the bombs.
in a vehicle that was parked at a police station for several days.
Some past terror attacks
February 18, 2014: Three men are found with a grenade and arrested at Pand-Pieri estate in Migori Town by police acting on a tip-off.
January 5, 2014: A home-made bomb explodes in a kiosk in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, injuring a man. A grenade is hurled at a police vehicle at Kona ya Musa on the Lunga Lunga-Diani road.
January 2, 2014: 10 people are injured after a grenade is hurled intoTandoori Bar in Diani.
December 14, 2013: At least four people are killed and over 30 injured when an explosive device placed in a Number Six matatu that plies the Eastleigh goes off near Pangani Girls School in Nairobi.
December 12, 2013: Two British tourists in Mombasa narrowly escaped death when a grenade hurled at their vehicle failed to explode.
June 10, 2013: Sixteen people are injured when an explosive device is hurled at an open-air crusade in Likoni, Mombasa outside Earthquake Miracle Ministries.
December 7, 2012: Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan is injured and two people are killed in a grenade attack in Eastleigh, Nairobi
December 5, 2012: Eight people are injured when an explosive goes off near a scrap metal store in Nairobi’s California estate in Eastleigh
Compiled by Maria Wambua, Nation Library