Bomb rips through Nairobi minibus, killing six

Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:22pm EST
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By Thomas Mukoya and Ben Makori

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A bomb tore through a minibus in Nairobi's Somali-dominated Eastleigh neighborhood on Sunday, killing six people in an attack highlighting the security risks Kenya faces because of its intervention in Somalia to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.

Kenya has suffered a string of deadly attacks in its capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa as well as the eastern garrison town of Garissa over the past year.

The attacks have been blamed on Somali militants and their sympathizers in retaliation for Kenya's deployment of troops in neighboring Somalia last year to drive out al Shabaab rebels whom Nairobi has blamed for attacks on Kenyan territory.

"I saw bodies ripped apart," said a Reuters photographer at the scene of the blast. He saw a crowd lifting five dead bodies wrapped in sacks onto the back of a police vehicle.

The force of the explosion left only the charred skeleton of the minibus, commonly known as matatus in Kenya, the orange seats ripped apart. The windows of a nearby cafe were shattered and two other cars were damaged.

Nairobi regional police commander Moses Ombati said the explosion was caused by a bomb and that there was a possibility it had been inside the matatu when it exploded.

Earlier he said a grenade had been hurled into the matatu.

"It was a bomb that caused the explosion. Five people died on the spot and another died while undergoing treatment at a hospital," he told Reuters.   Continued...