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Kenya's blast probe points at fertiliser bomb

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Tue, May 29th 2012 at 00:00, Updated May 29th 2012 at 16:25 GMT +3

By Cyrus Ombati

Investigations in the cause of the blast that rocked Kenya’s Capital City Nairobi began piecing together evidence as initial probe findings pointed at possible use of fertliser bomb.

An official told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “the smell of ammonia at the scene of Monday's explosion on Moi Avenue indicates the possible presence of a fertilizer bomb, which is commonly made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers joined Kenya’s  anti terrorist Police units in combing the scene of the blast for evidence.

The team of three FBI agents who have been in the country in the past weeks arrived at the Assanand's House and combed the scene for the better part of yesterday collecting samples that would help them crack the incident.

The 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 manufacturing the same.

Elsewhere, the intelligence firm IntelCenter said that militants from the al-Qaida-linked Somali group al-Shabab bragged about conducting interviews of survivors after the blast.

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IntelCenter said the development poses significant challenges to security forces and legitimate members of the media covering attacks

Head of Ant-Terrorism Police Unit Mr Boniface Mwaniki was seen at the scene co-ordinating the search before he left for a meeting at police headquarters, Vigilance House.

Mwaniki told The Standard they are yet to know the materials that were used to manufactured the Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) and confirmed the three agents had come to assist them with investigations.

The agents used special metal detectors to collect samples from the scene before they loaded them into paper bags.

Sources revealed first batch of the samples were taken to the American embassy in Nairobi on Monday night and Government Chemists yesterday as part of efforts to establish what was used to manufacture the explosive.

Results on the same are expected earliest on Friday, our sources said. The officers who were at the scene used bear hands to dig into the debris to search for more evidence.

They were heard complaining the scene had been tampered with after the stall owners were allowed to carry away shoes and clothes that had been strewn outside the usually busy house.

This forced the experts to concentrate their attention on a crater that the explosive created at at the stall where the bag that is believed to have contained it went off.

They used special spades to dig as they sieved the collected rubbles into their bags and drove away with them.

Police said no arrest had been made and that they had taken statements from several survivors and victims as part of their efforts to get the bombers.

Some of the witness wounded said that the explosion occurred soon after a bearded man left a bag near her stall.

Irene Wachira said the man came to the stall three times and acted as if he were interested in buying something. Wachira said the third time he came with a bag, he left it behind and then there was a blast.

Doctors confirmed Monday that  of those who had been admitted, 21 were discharged while 12 remained hospitalised. Two of them were in a serious condition

So far the motive of the attack is not known and no arrest has been made. No group has claimed responsibility of the attack.

Senior police officers in the city remained in meetings in reaction to the blast that has shocked many. Those under Nairobi Area police command met at the PPO's office while Iteere and CID director Ndegwa Muhoro met juiniors at their respective offices.

Muhoro later asked the public to always avoid such scenes of incidents.

“Secondary blasts usually cause more damage than the primary ones. Let all including politicians stop rushing there no matter what has happened because more damage may occur or deaths at times,” said Muhoro.

We established the meeting resolved to launch major operations in Nairobi, Mombasa and North Eastern towns in efforts to flush out Al-shabaab followers there.

“You will see more operations soon because some of these people are known to us but we have no evidence,” said a senior officer.

Kenya has experienced several blasts since troops crossed to Somalia to hunt down the terrorists last October.








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