A grenade tossed into a downtown bar in Nairobi in the small hours of Sunday morning injured 14 people just days after the US embassy issued a warning of a “imminent threat” of a terrorist attack here.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing but Kenya’s police force has been quick to blame al-Shabaab, Somalia’s Islamist insurgents, who have threatened to launch terrorist attacks in the country in retaliation for Kenya’s invasion of Somalia earlier this month.
“We are linking the grenade attack to the threats that have been issued by Shabaab,” Nairobi police chief Anthony Kibuchi told The Nation newspaper.
There were at least two deadly grenade attacks in Nairobi last year, neither of which was solved, but neither one was thought to be the work of the Shabaab.
If the Shabaab was indeed responsible then the attack fell well short of the group’s threats.
“Your skyscrapers will be destroyed, your tourism will disappear,” Shabaab spokesman Mohamud Ali Rage said last week.
On Saturday the US Embassy in Nairobi send text messages to American citizens warning of “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs”.
Neither the timing nor the target of the attack fits this bill. Among witnesses and victims at Mwauras was a cook from a nearby restaurant and a taxi tout.
But the attack has raised the level of fear in Kenya coming weeks after a string of kidnappings of foreigners that have threatened Kenya tourist economy and triggered this month’s invasion.