Christian gathering targeted in Kenyan blast

At least one person was killed and 18 were wounded in attacks on a restaurant in Mombasa city and a church gathering the nearby town of Mtwapa, the Kenyan Red Cross said on Sunday.

In Mtwapa, an explosive device that police said was likely a grenade was thrown at a Christian gathering.

“Sixteen people were injured, two critically, and one died,” Nelly Muluka, a Red Cross spokesperson said on Sunday, adding that all the injured remained in hospital.

A second attack, minutes later, in Mombasa in which a grenade was hurled at a restaurant injured three people, including one police officer.

Two of those three have since been discharged but one remains in hospital, Muluka said.

The director of medical services for Coast province Anisa Baghazal said on Sunday that those who remained in hospital were out of danger, although some were in a critical condition.

“Our team in Mombasa has set up a tracing and information desk at the Coast general hospital and at Oasis hospital,” the Red Cross’ Muluka said.

No one immediately claimed the attacks and the authorities have not commented on who might be behind them.

A survivor of the Mtwapa attack, Katana Kahindi, who sustained slight injuries to his right leg, said he saw a minibus swing towards the group of church goers before hearing a loud blast.

“I could not say whether the vehicle’s occupants had hurled the grenade that exploded,” he said.

Top officials visited the victims in hospital, among them Environment Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, who is also a local MP.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and police chief Mathew Iteere arrived in Mombasa on Sunday.

Since Kenya sent tanks and troops into Somalia late last year, a whole series of grenade attacks and explosions have taken place, both in Nairobi and in eastern towns and camps housing Somali refugees close to the border.

Targets have ranged from police vehicles to local bars and churches. The Kenyan authorities often blame such attacks on Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shebab rebels. — AFP

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