14 December 2013

Kenya: At Least Four Dead in Matatu Explosion

Photo: Xinhua
Grenade attack in Nairobi's city shuttle that has claimed at least six lives.

Nairobi — A powerful explosion went off inside a matatu in Pangani, Nairobi late Saturday killing at least four people, police and witnesses said.

More than twenty other people were injured and rushed to hospital, following the explosion that occurred shortly after 6 pm near Pangani Girls High School, on the matatu that was ferrying passengers to town from Eastleigh.

"Four people have died as a result of this explosion and 36 others have been injured," Nairobi police chief Benson Kibue said.

Kibue, briefing journalists at the scene, said one of them died on the spot, while two others died while being taken to hospital. The third died on arrival in hospital.

He said they were investigating to establish if the attacker was in the matatu but it was too soon to establish if he was one of the dead.

"We are investigating the whole incident, to also know if the grenade was thrown into the matatu from outside," he said.

Witnesses said they saw several people pulled out of the ill-fated matatu and rushed to hospitals, but none of them was sure of the number of the dead, apart from one body of a man which lay at the scene.

The matatu was headed to town from Eastleigh when the explosion went off at about 5.45 pm, causing an accident pile-up of six vehicles which rammed on one another after the explosion went off.

An emergency official who helped take victims out of the matatu said ten of them were in a critical conditionm when they pulled out of the matatu.

"I was passing waiting for the traffic to clear so I can cross, then I heard a loud explosion and metals and other pieces from the vehicle were flying all over this place, and people shouting," Peterson Mwaura, a pedestrian said, "I ran back.

"People were crying for help, they were screaming, but the one lying here (at the scene) appeared to have died on impact," he said.

Kenya has suffered similar attacks in the past, since 2011 when Kenya sent its military to Somalia to pursue Al Shabaab attackers, mainly grenades thrown at bars or restaurants in Eastleigh, parts of Mombasa and key border towns of Wajir and Mandera.

On Friday night, one person was killed and three others wounded after twin blasts went off in Wajir town, in what was blamed on Al Shabaab attackers or their sympathizers.

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