Official: 1 dead from attack on Kenya's coast
NAIROBI, Kenya – Attackers fired shots and detonated four grenades outside a nightclub in Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa after they were denied entry, killing a security guard and wounding five people, including one of the assailants, police officials said Wednesday.
The attack was the second explosion on Tuesday blamed on Kenyan recruits of an al-Qaida-linked militant group in Somalia.
Aggrey Adoli, the police chief on Kenya's coast, said the guard died in the hospital while five people were receiving treatment for wounds from Tuesday night's attack.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said they have arrested a hospital patient who they believe was involved in the attack. He was hit by shrapnel from a grenade and taken to the hospital with other victims of the attack.
"We do believe we have the right person who did it and this is a result of the investigations carried out," Iteere said.
The suspect identified as Thabit Jamal Din Yahya is a resident of Nairobi, Kenya's capital, and had traveled to Mombasa days before the attack, police said.
Iteere said Yahya had booked a bus ticket back to Nairobi to depart at 10 p.m. Tuesday, minutes after the explosion, and that police believe this was his escape plan.
He said police officers went to the bus company and retrieved Yahya's luggage and found a pistol magazine with eight rounds of ammunition.
Assailants at Belle Vista night club fired shots at security guards who wouldn't let them into the club, before detonating the grenades. A pistol was recovered at the scene, Iteere said.
In Tuesday's other attack, one policeman was killed and four others were seriously wounded when the car they were traveling in was hit by a suspected improvised explosive device at the world's largest refugee camp, near the Kenyan-Somali border.
Kenya has seen several hit-and-run attacks in recent months in the capital, Nairobi, and in northern Kenya. They have been blamed on the Somali militant group al-Shabab.
Al-Shabab militants have vowed to carry out terrorist attacks on Kenya for sending its troops into Somalia. Kenya says its military incursion into Somalia is a reaction to a wave of kidnappings on Kenyan soil it blames on al-Shabab.
Last month after a grenade attack on church which killed two people, Iteere said hundreds of Kenyan youth who have trained with al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Somalia have returned home and now pose a major security threat to this East African nation.
On Tuesday, police charged Ibrahim Kibe Kagwa, a Kenyan, with six counts of causing grievous body harm during a grenade attack on God house of Miracles on April 29.
Iteere said Yahya is Kenyan but is not a member of Kenya's large Somali community. In a similar case, another non-Somali Kenyan, Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, 28, was sentenced to life in prison last October after he pleaded guilty to charges related to throwing a grenade at a bus stop in Nairobi that same month.
A July U.N. report warned that al-Shabab was recruiting non-Somali members from countries in East Africa and was giving rise to a new generation of East African jihadists. The fighters represent a new security challenge for the region and wider international community, the report said.
The report, by a panel of U.N. experts monitoring arms embargoes against Somalia and Eritrea, said that in the past al-Shabab's presence in Kenya was concentrated primarily within the ethnic Somali community.
Tuesday's attacks were the most recent of a series of grenade and gunfire attacks since Kenya sent troops to Somalia in October.
In March, grenade explosions at one of the main bus stations in Kenya's capital killed nine people and wounded 40, the deadliest in the series of attacks. Police say at least 40 Kenyan civilians have died in the attacks.