By Cyrus Ombati and Ally Jamah
A fertiliser bomb made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil likely caused the deadly Monday blast that blew up a landmark building in the centre of Nairobi, injuring up to 33 people, five of them critically.
Even more chilling is a report by the Associated Press news agency quoting intelligence firm IntelCenter as saying Al-Shabaab militants bragged about mingling with journalists and interviewing survivors following the blast.
It quotes an unnamed investigator as saying that the strong smell of ammonia at the scene points to the likelihood of an improvised explosive device (IED)
favoured by terrorists. Details about the possible nature of the IED emerged as three agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations ( FBI) joined Kenyan bomb experts to sift through the debris at the site for evidence.
The FBI agents joined Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit to investigate the Moi Avenue explosion.
The agents who have been in the country in the past weeks, arrived at the Assanand’s House site of the blast and combed the scene for the better part of on Tuesday.
They carted away several samples in paper bags that they had collected, saying they would analyse them as part of efforts to know the elements used in the IED. Among the 33 people wounded was a woman who blamed the blast on a “bearded man” who left behind a bag shortly before the detonation.
The explosion sent dark smoke billowing out of a one-story building on the downtown 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.
Al-Shabaab threatened in October to bring down Nairobi skyscrapers and referenced the July 2010 bomb attacks they masterminded in Kampala, Uganda, that killed 76 people.