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Kenya Bus-Station Blasts Leave Six Dead, 68 Hurt, Red Cross Says

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- The number of people killed in a series of grenade blasts yesterday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, increased to six, while another four people are missing, the Kenya Red Cross said.

The death toll rose after one of 69 people admitted to the hospital succumbed to injuries, the medical charity said in a statement on its Twitter account today, citing Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.

Police suspect “sympathizers of al-Shabaab,” the Somali Islamist militant group linked to al-Qaeda, were responsible for the attack in which at least three hand grenades were thrown out of a moving vehicle at passengers at a bus station on the fringe of the city center, Charles Owino, deputy spokesman for the Kenyan police, said by phone today.

Al-Shabaab threatened to carry out attacks in Kenya after the East African nation deployed its army in southern Somalia in mid-October to fight the militants. Two weeks after the incursion began, one person died and at least 20 were injured in two separate bomb blasts in Nairobi that the police blamed on terrorists. Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, a 28-year-old man who said he was a member of al-Shabaab, pleaded guilty in court on Oct. 26 to nine charges, including being responsible for the blasts

Yesterday’s attack took place around 7:30 p.m. when the attackers “knew it was dark and it was not very easy to capture them,” Owino said. “But we can assure the public that we are going to use all the investigation facilities we have available to make sure we catch them.”

Kidnappings, Murders

Al-Shabaab has waged a campaign to topple Somalia’s United Nations-backed government since 2007 and establish an Islamic state. The group last month became part of al-Qaeda. Kenya’s incursion into Somalia came after several foreign tourists and aid workers were murdered and abducted on Kenyan territory. Kenya blames al-Shabaab for the attacks, a charge the militants have denied.

In 1998, near-simultaneous blasts of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of neighboring Tanzania, killed 224 people. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al-Qaeda operative, was sentenced to life in prison in January 2011 for his role in the attack. Khalid al-Fawwaz, an alleged member of the group, has been indicted in the bombings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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