Grenade attack in Kenya bar kills one, wounds others
6/25/2012 1:30:01 AM -
MOMBASA, Kenya (AFP) - A hand grenade thrown into a bar in the Kenyan tourist hub of Mombasa as clients watched a Euro 2012 football match Sunday killed one person and wounded several others, police said.
Three of those wounded were in a critical condition, the head of the coastal province's police, Aggrey Adoli, said.
The attack came just two days after the United States had warned its citizens of an imminent threat of such an attack in the city and Kenyan police had arrested two Iranians on suspicion of planning bomb attacks.
The blast tore through the Jericho bar, in the densely populated Mishomoroni district of the city, at about 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) Sunday, a police officer said.
"One person has died and we have several others injured," the officer added. Football fans were following the Euro 2012 quarter-final match in Kiev between England and Italy at the time.
"Many people have been injured," witness George Lado told AFP. "I saw one area of the bar blown off before I started running away".
On Friday, the US embassy alert to its citizens said they had received information on "an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in Mombasa.
"All US government travel to Mombasa is suspended until July 1," it added.
Just hours before Sunday's attack, a senior Kenyan official had denounced the US warning.
"It is a reckless advisory and it was totally uncalled for," the head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia, told journalists in Mombasa.
"It is aimed at sabotaging the country's economy." Kenya officials had written to the US embassy to get them to "reverse their decision", he added.
France's embassy in Nairobi also warned its citizens to be "extremely vigilant" in Mombasa and the surrounding area.
Just days earlier Kenyan police had detained two Iranians: one in Nairobi on Wednesday, the other a day later in Mombasa.
They were suspected of having links to a terror network planning bombings in Mombasa and in the capital Nairobi, said police, when they announced the arrests on Friday.
Their interrogation had led them to seize two small bags of chemicals that would serve to make explosives, police added.
Then in a separate development, police in Nairobi seized bomb ingredients from two young men stopped during a routine patrol, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday.
Sunday night's attack was just the latest in a series of such incidents this year.
A bombing at a Nairobi shopping centre in May left dozens wounded.
The same month, a restaurant in Mombasa was hit by a grenade that killed one person, as two separate attacks wounded at least eight people in the northeast.
These attacks -- and the embassy calls to avoid the Indian Ocean city of Mombasa -- is likely to hit tourism there even further. And the money from foreign holidaymakers is a key earner for the east African nation.
Since Kenya invaded southern Somalia in October 2011 to help oust Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, it has seen a wave of grenade attacks and kidnappings of foreign tourists blamed on the Shebab or their supporters.
But Kenya's intervention there was itself in response to attacks on foreign tourists in Kenya.
Last September, gunmen seized a British couple, Judith and David Tebbutt, both in their fifties, who were on holiday at a resort on the idyllic Lamu archipelago.
They killed David Tebbutt, and his wife was captured and is believed to have been sold to pirates now holding her in central Somalia.
Three weeks later, disabled Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu was kidnapped from her home on Manda Island and later died in captivity in Somalia.