Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militia denied responsibility for a grenade attack in neighboring Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, three days ago that killed seven people.
“Contrary to the specious allegations of the Kenyan government, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen bears no responsibility whatsoever for the turbulence that reigns over the country,” the militia said in an e-mailed statement today.
Four people are still missing and 52 people are in the hospital after the March 10 blasts in which hand grenades were thrown from a moving vehicle at passengers waiting at a bus station on the outskirts of Nairobi’s city center, the Kenya Red Cross said on its website today. Police suspect “sympathizers of al-Shabaab” were responsible for the attack, Charles Owino, deputy spokesman for the Kenyan police, said on March 11.
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. The rebel group has waged a campaign since 2007 to topple Somalia’s United Nations-backed government and establish an Islamic state.
Two weeks after the Kenyan incursion began, one person died and at least 20 were injured in two separate bomb blasts in Nairobi that the government said were inspired by al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab previously “cautioned the Kenyan government and warned of cataclysmic consequences should Kenya continue to pursue the belligerent path of invasion,” the group said today. “The rampant insecurity that now prevails in the streets of Kenya, and the wave of public anxiety therein, conspicuously foreshadows the perilous turn of events ahead.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kenya today condemned the attack and urged travellers to be aware of security concerns in the country.
“We applaud Kenyan efforts to bring to justice those who perpetrated this cowardly act of violence and will continue to cooperate closely with Kenyan authorities to combat terrorism in Kenya and the region,” the embassy said.