Tue, Oct 25, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Grenade attack at Nairobi disco

BLAST FROM THE PAST:Police are linking the attack to al-Shabaab insurgents, a week after Kenyan forces entered Somalia and a day after the US embassy issued a threat alert

AFP and AP, NAIROBI and MOGADISHU

A grenade was thrown into a discotheque in Nairobi early yesterday, injuring 14 people, all Kenyans, in an attack police linked with recent threats made by Somalian al-Shabaab insurgents.

“Yes, we are linking the grenade attack to the threats that have been issued by [al-]Shabaab and that is why I am appealing to city residents to be vigilant and cooperate with our officers,” said Antony Kibuchi, provincial police chief for Nairobi.

The US embassy in Nairobi had warned on Saturday of an “imminent threat” of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, one week after Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia to hunt down the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab fighters.

The embassy cited “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs.”

“We will remain alert and we urge members of the public to remain alert as well,” Kibuchi declared. “We have heightened security patrols and enforcement in the city.”

The red-painted Mwauras disco is in the bustling center of Nairobi, popular with night-clubbers. A journalist said few signs of damage were apparent from the outside of the building, which was guarded by a dozen police.

The injured were taken to Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital. A nurse said six of them suffered “bad injuries on the faces and head,” while the rest had “minor injuries on the hands and legs.”

At the hospital, victims told of panic in the discotheque as the attack happened.

Lawrence Kioko, chef in a Nairobi Japanese restaurant, had gone out to make a telephone call before the incident.

“When I came back I ordered a drink and before I could even take a sip, I heard a loud explosion, and there was a small metal object that fell near my legs, and there was confusion all over the place, everyone was running and I realized there was blood all over my face,” Kioko said.

“I have suffered injuries on my face and legs, I even don’t know how I came here,” Kioko said from his bed in the emergency ward at the hospital.

Jonah Mwangi, who sells matatu (local bus) tickets, said he had gone to purchase cigarettes and decided to have a drink.

“I wish I bought the cigarettes and left, I decided to have a drink and that is when this explosion happened. It was so loud and immediately I started feeling pain and blood splashing at me and we were just trying to get out,” he said.

“Because there was one entrance, it took a lot of time because the entrance was so small,” he said, bandages all over his face.

On Oct. 16, Kenya sent troops across its border with Somalia to hunt al-Shabaab insurgents it blames for the abductions of a British tourist, a disabled French woman who has since died in captivity and two Spanish aid workers.

In other developments, Kenya on Sunday said that France’s navy bombed a town in Somalia near a stronghold of al-Shabaab, the first confirmation that a Western military force is involved in the latest push against the Islamist militia.

Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy bombed the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo on Saturday night, where residents braced for fierce battles as Kenyan soldiers closed in. A Nairobi-based diplomat said last week that France was carrying out military attacks in Somalia; French officials in Paris denied French forces were carrying out any attacks.

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