Death toll from Nairobi bus blast rises to six: police


Police officers work at the scene of an explosion near Nairobi's Eastleigh neighbourhood on December 14, 2013. Photo - AFP

Nairobi: Kenyan police were on Sunday investigating an explosion in a Nairobi bus the day before that killed six people and wounded 30 others -- the latest in a string of unclaimed attacks as the country marks 50 years of independence.

The death toll from the blast rose to six on Sunday after two gravely hurt people died from their wounds overnight, police said.

Nairobi police chief Benson Kibue said a suspect was being questioned over the attack on the 32-seat vehicle Saturday, which came from the Eastleigh neighbourhood, dubbed "Little Mogadishu" because it is mainly populated by Somali immigrants and Kenyans of Somali origin.

"We lost two of the victims in hospital where about 30 others are still admitted," Kibue said. "We now have six people dead out of that incident."

Police were trying to determine whether the powerful explosion was caused by a grenade or an improvised explosive device and whether it was placed in the bus, carried by a passenger or flung from outside. The blast hit several cars near the bus, killing at least one of the motorists, according to witnesses.

"We have one suspect who was arrested soon after the incident. He is assisting us in the investigations," Kibue said.

On Sunday the situation was calm in Eastleigh after police late Saturday dispersed some rioters in the streets where the blast took place. Police forces were not particularly visible in the area, nor in the rest of the Kenyan capital.

It was the fourth attack during a week in which Kenya marked its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, leaving a total of 15 people dead since Tuesday.

No links have as yet been established between the attacks, none of which has been claimed by any group.

Suspicion for some of them, though, has focused on Kenya's two-year military intervention in neighbouring Somalia to oust Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.

The Shebab claimed the brutal September assault on Nairobi's upmarket Westgate mall in which at least 67 people died in a four-day siege of the shopping centre popular with foreigners.

Homegrown groups, including the Islamist Al-Hijra group, a radical organisation formerly known as the Muslim Youth Center, operate on Kenya's coast and have been linked to the Shebab.

Late Friday, at least one person was killed and three others seriously wounded when twin explosions rocked the Kenyan town of Wajir near the border with Somalia, police said, indicating it was likely the work of Shebab insurgents or their sympathisers.

Also near the troubled border with Somalia, gunmen on Tuesday killed eight Kenyans including five policemen in an ambush.

And on Thursday, the very day Kenyans celebrated a half-century as an independent nation, attackers hurled a grenade at a minibus carrying British tourists in Mombasa, but it failed to explode -- a rare attack specifically targeting foreign visitors who are key to the economy.

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