MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - A blast hit a night club in Kenya’s port of Mombasa on Sunday, killing a man, police said, a day after the U.S. embassy in the East African country warned of an imminent attack on the city.
Police said the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear but Mombasa, a popular holiday destination for Kenyans and foreigners, has been struck by a series of blasts since Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October to crush Islamist militants.
“I am seeing one body. We are trying to seal off the area as we wait for officers to establish what kind of an explosion it was,” said Ambrose Munyasia, the coast region’s top criminal investigation officer who was at the scene, told Reuters.
Local media said three people had been killed in the blast at the night club, which is situated in a residential area.
Eight people were seriously wounded in the explosion and taken to hospital, said police.
“I have no idea what it was. I just heard several blasts ... something threw me and I fell on my back. Then I noticed I was bleeding from my neck and head,” said Richard Mutiso, lying on a hospital bed receiving treatment for his wounds.
One of the wounded was a nine-year-old boy who had shrapnel lodged in his chest and thigh.
A witness, Esther Muthoni, said she heard three explosions at the club where a crowd had gathered to watch the Euro 2012 quarter-final between England and Italy.
“I had just arrived and was having a drink as I waited for the football match to begin, then I heard an explosion, and another and another. I went down on my belly. Then I saw a car speed off and bodies lying all over,” said Muthoni.
On May 15, gunmen detonated three grenades outside a night club in Mombasa, killing a woman security guard.
On Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Kenya’s capital Nairobi warned of an imminent threat of an attack on Mombasa and asked all its workers to leave the coastal city.
The U.S. embassy also said it had suspended travel for its officials to Mombasa until July 1.
The U.S. embassy warning came days after police arrested two Iranians after seizing chemicals they suspected were going to be used to make explosives in Mombasa.
Earlier on Sunday, the Kenyan government said it had written to the U.S. embassy to reverse its warning, terming it “a reckless advisory” and an act of “economic sabotage”.
The acting head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kimemia, said Kenya had the capacity to contain any terrorism threats.
Police said on Saturday they had recovered suspected bomb-making material in a working-class area of Nairobi.
The capital and other parts of Kenya have suffered a series of grenade attacks since the East African nation sent troops into Somalia.
Additional reporting by Geroge Obulutsa; Writing by James Macharia and Ralph Gowling