3 killed, scores injured in Mombasa attacks

By Stanley Mwahanga, Benard Sanga and Joackim Bwana

Mombasa, Kenya: Three people, including a woman, died in an explosion at the busy Mwembe Tayari bus stage in Mombasa on an evening when twin terror attacks were reported in the coastal town.

Reports show that an attacker or attackers targeted a parked bus belonging to Chania Bus Services in Mwembe Tayari with what is believed to be a hand grenade hurled from the back side of a stationary bus.

The driver of the bus, James Gataka, said he saw a man hurling what appeared to be a hand grenade from a car towards commuters at the crowded bus stage. “It appears the man was aiming at the large multitude,” Gataka said, and added that the attacker or attackers sped towards Saba Saba along Kenyatta Avenue.

Gataka’s account appeared to contradict an initial theory that the attacker or attackers targeted the bus with the device.

“It was about 7.45pm when I heard a loud explosion and fled the place,” a witness had earlier told The Standard on Sunday, referring to an object apparently thrown at the bus.

Reports show the bus had just arrived from Nairobi, and passengers were disembarking.

As crowds grew, police detained a middle-aged man with a back pack and also took away the three bodies besides 10 injured victims to the Coast General Hospital.

Police had not divulged the casualty figures by the time of going to press, but The Standard on Sunday reporters at the scene saw three motionless bodies spread on the ground amid shreds of glass and dust.

Earlier, an explosion believed to have been caused by a remote-controlled Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the beach behind Reef Hotel in Mombasa injured an identified man as he fled the scene.

In the hotel incident, reports showed that a group of beach boys alerted the management of the Reef Hotel that someone had left a contraption with cables on the beach behind the hotel.

Strancelus Kashiri, the hotel’s head of security, told The Standard on Sunday that the contraption appeared to be an IED and he alerted the police, but the device went off at around 6.30pm before the officers arrived, injuring one person.

Security sources said the explosion at Reef Hotel and reports of a bomb in Nyali appeared to have been designed as a diversion in order to stage the attack at Mwembe Tayari bus station.

Separately, police evacuated the Nyali Shopping Complex in Nyali following false reports that explosives had been planted in a cinema hall.