Monday, June 11, 2007

Explosion in Nairobi - Again

By now many of you have probably heard about the bombing, which occurred this morning in Nairobi. The explosion occurred downtown near the Ambassador Hotel during rush hour in a very busy area. My driver, P, in between calls from loved ones ringing to make sure he was okay, said that the matatu depot near there is always packed at that hour or morning.

As I write this, local news outlets are torn about who is to blame for the tragedy. Per this article, al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility. However, the belief locally is that the Mungiki Cult carried out this crime. By the time you read this, it is likely, and hopeful, that we all know more. In the mean time, we can only pray for the wounded and for the families of the deceased.
Explosion rocks central Nairobi

At least one person has been killed and several others injured in a blast in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, police say.

Witnesses say the explosion happened outside a cafe near the Ambassador Hotel in the centre of the city.

Initial reports suggest a suicide bomber carried out the attack but this has not been confirmed.

The area has been sealed off by police and the military. The blast was close to the site of the 1998 US embassy bombing which killed 213 people.

The al-Qaeda network said it carried out that attack.

Monday's explosion happened at about 0800 local time (0500 GMT) outside the City Gate Restaurant.

It remains unclear if it was a suicide bomber.

One eyewitness told the BBC from hospital that he was knocked to the floor by a man running away just before the explosion.

Robert Maritim said he had been having his shoes shined near the blast and believed the man killed was a street sweeper.

Another witness said a man detonated a bomb inside the cafe. Other reports said it was a grenade blast outside.

Shop windows nearby were shattered and the area has now been cordoned off as anti-terrorist police with sniffer dogs comb the scene for further explosives.

Police later said one person had been killed and about six others injured in the blast.

Torn pieces of the Koran were found near a body outside the cafe but at this stage it is not clear if they are linked to this attack, the BBC's Karen Allen in Nairobi says.

Last week, more than 30 people were killed in Nairobi during a three-day police crackdown on suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

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