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Deadly attacks target buses in Kenyan capital Nairobi

© Afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-05

Three people were killed and at least 60 more wounded, some of them critically, after two explosions targeted buses travelling on a highway in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Sunday, local police said.

"So far three people have been confirmed dead, one was killed at the scene and two died in hospital. The final report will be known later tonight or tomorrow, once we check with all the hospitals," said Moses Ombati, the deputy police commander for Nairobi, in comments to Reuters.

Ombati said the explosions targeted two buses packed with commuters along Thika Highway, adding the blasts were caused by improvised explosive devices.

The National Disaster Operations Center said that of the 60 people injured, 20 were in critical condition.

Reacting to the attack, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed it on terrorists wanting to provoke a sectarian war.

“The terrorists would like a war of religion, bringing to an end our history of tolerance. This country will not allow it. The terrorists will be treated as the vicious criminals they are, and our tradition of easy coexistence will be maintained,” he said.

“The terrorists wish to see us despairing and divided. They will be disappointed.”

The explosions come a day after four people were killed when a grenade was thrown at a bus stop in Mombasa. A second blast at a public beach in the coastal town did not kill anyone.

Kenya has been hit by a wave of gun and explosives attacks since it sent troops to neighbouring Somalia to fight Islamic extremist rebel group al Shabaab in 2011. The al Qaeda-linked militants have vowed to carry out terrorist attacks in Kenya in response.

Terror warnings have been a constant in Kenya in recent months, particularly after the attack on the Westgate Mall that killed at least 67 people in September. Al Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack.

Last month a car bomb exploded outside a police station in Nairobi, killing two officers and the two men of Somali origin inside the vehicle. Police had impounded the car for driving on the wrong side of the road. Three ethnic Somalis have been arrested for the blast and are expected to be charged in court this week.

Kenya has been conducting a major security operation in response to the wave of attacks since last month.

Thousands of people, mainly ethnic Somalis, have been arrested in a security sweep that has been heavily criticised by human rights groups who say officials unfairly target Somali nationals, detain suspects without trial in inhumane conditions and deny them representation, take part in extortion and circumvent the courts to deport suspects back to Somalia.

Police say the operation is aimed at weeding out terrorists and illegal aliens from war-torn neighbouring countries who are blamed for smuggling small arms and other weapons into Kenya through its porous borders.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP)

Date created : 2014-05-04


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