Deadly Blasts Shake Nairobi

OnIslam & News Agencies

Nairobi police commander vowed that assailants will be brought to justice.

NAIROBI – Six months after Westgate mall attack, Kenya's capital Nairobi came under attack after three consecutive explosions occurred on Monday, March 31, leaving six killed and dozens injured.

“We are here at a crime scene. Of course we suspect it is a terrorist attack,” Benson Kibue, Nairobi police commander, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Tuesday, April 1.

“The injuries number 25 -- they are in various hospitals -- and we have retrieved six bodies.”

The Somali dominated neighborhood, Eastleigh, was rocked by three bombs that targeted a local clinic and two small restaurants on Monday's evening as people were making their way home.

Although there were no immediate claim of responsibility, police raised suspicion of terrorism act in the “little Mogadishu” area.

Initial investigations found that the three explosions might have been made by a homemade bomb.

Others claim more subtle weaponry. “We suspect it is a grenade,” a local police officer said.

In the wake of the attack, police arrested more than one hundred youth as suspects. Moreover, police evacuated all refugees, mostly Somali, from the urban areas in the capital, settling them in refugee camps.

“The government says that's because some of the people responsible for recent attacks have been refugees,” Al-Jazeera correspondent said.

“The people of Eastleigh argue they are suffering collective punishment for the actions of a few.”

The attack followed a series of recent attacks that have rocked different parts of Kenya, raising questions about the country's vulnerability to terrorism.

Last week, a gun attack on a church service in Mombasa left six killed and dozens wounded.

The church attack was vehemently condemned by leading Kenya Muslim scholars who stressed that attempts to spoil religious harmony would be foiled.


Nairobi police commander vowed that assailants will be brought to justice.

“Rest assured, whoever has done this thing, we will get them. There is no need to panic. We are on top of these issues,” Kibue, the police commander said.

However, the recurrent attacks raised many questions surrounding Kenya’s vulnerability to attacks and the government's plan for combating the phenomenon.

"Vigilance by our security agents is not adequate," Simon Werunga, a security expert at Nairobi-based think tank East Africa Security Studies, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

"Kenya needs to strengthen its vigilance by adopting up-to-date technology," said Werunga.

"Our security agents need retraining."

Security experts blamed police corruption as a major part of the problem.

"Our weakest point in this war is corruption amongst border guards and police officers," expert Mark Munuve told AA.

It is estimated that there are at least 10 million Muslims in Kenya out of the total 40 million, most of whom live in the coastal and North Eastern parts of the country.

Kenya Muslims have been sensing eradication of their rights following Wetgate mall attack in which more than 60 people were killed which was claimed by Somalia's militant al Shabaab group.

Though the attack was immediately condemned by leaders of the Muslim community, they have fallen victims of frequent police raids.

The Kenyan police crackdown on Muslim has extended to mosques when security forces raided Musa mosque in Mombasa's Majengo last month, arresting about 130 people and killing a number of people.

The unjustified attacks were criticized by analysts as fueling anti-Muslim sentiments in the society as well as crippling Muslims’ efforts to eradicate radicalism.

Related Links:
Kenya Muslims Condemn Church Attack
Kenya Police Storms Mosque, Kills Muslim
Police Stigmatization Haunts Kenya Muslims
Kenya Faiths Oppose Mosques Shutdown
Mosque Attack Stirs Kenya Muslims Outrage

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