Three people killed by blasts in Kenya's Mombasa

MOMBASA, Kenya Sat May 3, 2014 5:24pm EDT

1 of 2. Plain-clothed policemen check the damage on a passenger bus at the scene of an explosion at the populous Mwembe Tayari market, in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa May 3, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Joseph Okanga

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MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - At least three people were killed when attackers threw an explosive device at passengers at a bus station in Mombasa on Saturday, and a luxury hotel in the Kenyan coastal city was damaged in a separate blast, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Kenya has blamed similar attacks on the al Qaeda-linked Somali group al Shabaab, which killed at least 67 people at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi last September.

There have been a string of attacks since then.

"What happened is a grenade was thrown at passengers," Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa told journalists.

"The attackers were riding on a motor bike, and lobbed the grenade at the crowd of people at the bus terminus."

More than 20 people were wounded.

Guards at the seaside Reef Hotel told Reuters they had prevented attackers from gaining entry, but the suspects threw a bag with an explosive device into the compound. A roof of one building was ripped off by the blast and part of its wall collapsed.

At the bus terminus, victims were sprawled in a pool of blood and the road was littered with shattered glass from a bus.

"I didn't see who threw the object, but I heard a loud explosion before I fell to the ground. I then felt my legs go numb," Halima Sidi, 26, who works at a local supermarket, told Reuters at a hospital as nurses bandaged her wounded legs.

The Kenyan coast's large Muslim minority, many of whom feel marginalized by the government, has been a fertile recruitment ground for Islamist militant networks.

Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia in 2011 to try to drive out al Shabaab which it sees as a threat to its own borders and security.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the tourism sector was "on its knees" due to attacks by the militants who want Kenyan troops out of Somalia. Kenyatta has rejected their demand.

Mombasa is a draw for tourists as well as a major port for the east African region, situated on the Indian Ocean coastline.

(Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (2)
carlmartel wrote:
There was also an attack in Mogadishu today that killed six people. Al Qaeda supports the attackers in both countries, and, in 1998, it carried out two simultaneous attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania. Al Shabaab has ties to al Qaeda and may be trying to show its prowess by executing simultaneous attacks on seaports. Further, Mombasa has an oil refinery that processes 80,000 barrels per day. Al Qaeda’s leader wants to strike oil and gas infrastructure to damage western economies and militaries that depend on oil and to raise oil and gas prices so citizens in Arab countries can donate more to al Qaeda. The Mwembe Tayari bus station is three kilometers from the Changamwe Oil Refinery, and both are on Mombasa Island.

May 03, 2014 3:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sorrymess wrote:
I been through mombasa many times it is a lawless place at best of times. total neglect of security all over the place.
but no one will accept its such a dump.

May 03, 2014 7:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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