Three people were killed when unknown assailants hurled an explosive at passengers in Mombasa’s Mwembe Tayari bus terminus on Saturday night.
Another explosion occurred next to a tourist resort in Nyali, Reef Hotel, and destroyed a building but did not injure anyone, witnesses told Baraka FM.
The Mwembe Tayari attack occurred as passengers were waiting at the bus terminus next to Kobil petrol station, for public transport to return home from work.
“A man who was in a moving saloon car threw something at the crowd at the bus stage at around 8pm. We heard the explosion, ran and fell to the ground. He was aiming at the many passengers who stood by waiting for matatus, James Kitaka, a bus driver who witnessed the incident told journalists at the scene.
“I have seen three dead people, and helped to carry at least eight others who were wounded to waiting ambulances and police vehicles,” he added.
At the Coast General hospital, medics on the verge of being overwhelmed, struggled to stabalise dozens of casualties who kept arriving by ambulances and police trucks.
“We have 23 wounded victims, many with multiple injuries. Two have been taken to the theatre. We can confirm receiving three bodies of those who died at the scene,” Anthony Mogaka, head of the emergency unit at the referral hospital said.
The attacks which appeared to have been pre-planned to occur simultaneously, are a major set-back to the rigorous security operation that was ongoing in Mombasa and the rest of the country, for the purpose of ending terrorism-related crime.
They are also a blow to the delicate tourism sector, which president Kenyatta said last week, was on ‘its knees’ because of continued insecurity.
Armed policemen sealed off the scene at Mwembe Tayari as bomb experts combed the area using special magnets and sniffer dogs to collect any debris for analysis.
A bus belonging to Chania company had its windows shattered as blood stained its body and the tarmac surrounding the area.
In Nyali, the explosion ripped through the roof of a building and damaged its wall, in what guards there described as a deafening explosion.
One of the dead, identified by family as Suleiman Mohammed, was buried the same night.
“In a telephone interview with a local television channel, Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa said the Mwembe Tayari blast was caused by a grenade.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Al Shabaab, who killed at least 67 people at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi last September, had vowed to revenge Kenya’s incursion into Somalia where they have been fighting the Islamist insurgents under the African Union forces.