Mon, Jun 25, 2012 - Page 6 News List

US says attack is likely in Kenyan port city Mombasa

Reuters, NAIROBI

The US embassy in Kenya has warned of an imminent threat of an attack on the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and asked all its government workers to leave the coastal town, which has been hit by a series of attacks.

Underscoring the threat, police said they recovered suspected bomb-making material in the capital, Nairobi, on Saturday, the second such discovery this week in the country.

The US embassy said in a statement dated Friday on its Web site that it had also suspended travel for its government officials to Mombasa, a tourist destination popular with foreigners, until Sunday.

Mombasa, Nairobi and other parts of Kenya have suffered a series of grenade attacks since Kenya sent troops into Somalia last year to pursue al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabaab insurgents it blames for a surge in violence and kidnappings threatening tourism in east Africa’s biggest economy.

“This is to alert all US citizens in Kenya, or planning to travel to Kenya in the near future, that the US Embassy in Nairobi has received information of an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in Mombasa,” the statement from the embassy said.

“All US government travel to Mombasa is suspended until July 1, 2012. All US government personnel are required to leave Mombasa,” it said.

The embassy said private citizens would not face the same restrictions, but advised them to heed the warning while planning their travels.

The warning comes days after police arrested two Iranians after seizing chemicals that they suspected were going to be used to make explosives in Mombasa.

In the most recent attack in the country, a bomb exploded in a trading center in the heart of Nairobi late last month, wounding more than 30 people.

One person later died from injuries.

Gunmen also detonated grenades outside a nightclub in Mombasa last month, killing one person and wounding several others.

On Saturday, Nairobi Police Chief Anthony Kibuchi said police had recovered a bag of what appeared to be detonators labeled “Magnum Buster. Danger explosives” in a city neighborhood.

“We are in hot pursuit of the suspects,” Kibuchi said, saying they were looking for three people.

Two police officers were wounded in an explosion from an improvised explosive device in the northeastern town of Mandera.

Deputy Police Chief Philip Ndolo said a suspect had been arrested.

“The two officers were hit and injured by an object. We believe it is an improvised explosive device,” Ndolo said by telephone.

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