The Star (Nairobi)

17 May 2014

Kenya: Two Bombs Kill 10 in Gikomba

Ten people were killed yesterday and scores wounded when twin bombs exploded in Nairobi's busy Gikomba Market . The 2.30pm explosions went off on Digo Road in the heart of Gikomba, almost simultaneously. Police are holding two suspects who were arrested by citizens as they attempted to flee from the scene.

Gikomba is one of the busiest markets in East Africa, with thousands buying and selling all kind of things, especially secondhand clothes.

Eyewitness Charles Kamande, a secondhand clothes seller, was only metres away from the scene where a Nissan matatu was blown up. He said the first explosion went off inside the matatu, which was waiting for passengers. A tout was shouting and calling for passengers to board the vehicle when it exploded, killing three instantly.

The 14-seater matatu, the Jesmat Sacco, was heading to the city centre with mostly traders who had bought clothes for retail or city residents shopping for affordable secondhand materials.

"The matatu was almost full. It was at the stage waiting for customers. I heard a loud explosion from the matatu," said Kamande.

He said he saw three dead bodies near the matatu. "One of the dead people had his head blown up by the bomb. His skull was open. It was a terrible sight. I will not be able to sleep for many days," he said.

The second explosion happened under a wooden platform that had secondhand clothes, about 30 metres from the scene of the first blast, opposite Shell Petrol Station near the junction of Digo Road and Pumwani Road.

A witness said two people died on the spot at the second scene.

Witnesses said that the two explosive devices may have been planted by suspects who fled the scene.

A suspect was arrested trying to flee the the scene, but a trader said the man is a driver based at Gikomba and may have been jolted by the loud bang into running for safety.

Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui said victims were evacuated to the Guru Nanak Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital and MP Shah Hospital.

The bustling market and streets normally teeming with people came to a standstill as the crime scene was cordoned with scene-of-crime police tape.

Matatus plying the Pumwani and Digo roads were diverted to alternative routes.

A huge throng of onlookers gathered at the scene, anxious to catch a glimpse of the horror. The police struggled to keep the curious Nairobians out of the way.

A number of crazed youths, convinced they had an idea who was responsible, started shouting anti-Somali slogans and were heard to try and mobilise to attack Eastleigh because the estate is linked to previous bomb attacks.

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