#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 7°C Friday 3 December 2021
Advertisement

Fertiliser bomb blamed for Kenyan blast

The FBI has joined the investigation into the blast, which ripped through a building full of small shops, wounding 33 people yesterday.

A destroyed shop is seen after Monday's explosion in downtown Nairobi
A destroyed shop is seen after Monday's explosion in downtown Nairobi
Image: AP Photo/Sayyid Azim

POLICE SAID TODAY that an improvised explosive device caused a blast that ripped through a building full of small shops in downtown Nairobi, with one official saying it may have been a fertiliser bomb.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the smell of ammonia at the scene of yesterday’s explosion on Moi Avenue indicated the possible presence of a fertiliser bomb, which is commonly made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

The FBI joined the investigation into the attack that wounded 33 people, including a woman who blamed the blast on a “bearded man” who left behind a bag shortly before the detonation.

Kenya’s police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, said police concluded today that the blast was caused by an IED. Kiraithe said officials couldn’t yet definitely blame the Somali militant group al-Shabab, an Islamist group that has links to al-Qaida.

Al-Shabab threatened in October to bring down Nairobi skyscrapers and bragged about its July 2010 bomb attacks in Kampala, Uganda, that killed 76 people. Al-Shabab issued the threat against Kenya after Kenyan troops moved into Somalia to attack al-Shabab fighters.

FBI agents helped analyse materials at the blast site at Kenya’s request, said US Embassy spokesman John Haynes.

The intelligence firm IntelCenter said al-Shabab militants bragged about acting as journalists and conducting interviews of survivors after the blast, posing significant challenges to security forces and legitimate members of the media covering attacks.

The explosion sent dark smoke billowing out of a one-story building on the avenue named after Kenya’s second president. The blast peeled back the front corner of the building’s aluminum roof, shattered windows in the building and scattered shoes, clothes and other wares on the ground.

A high-rise building with a glass exterior next door was largely untouched.

There were fears that the attack could be a dry run for a major terrorist bombing.

The explosion follows several grenade attacks the Kenyan government has blamed on al-Shabab. At least 40 civilians have been killed in the grenade attacks since October, which police attribute to Kenyan sympathizers of al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab has not yet made any public comment on the attack.

Read: Crimes against humanity charges brought against Kenyan presidential candidates>

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (3)