Seven passengers were killed and over 30 people injured, at least 28 of them seriously, after an explosive device detonated in a mini-bus on Eastleigh’s 2nd Avenue near St Teresa’s Church on Sunday afternoon.
MATATU BLOWN TO PIECES: HUMAN BODY PARTS SPREAD ACROSS SCENE
The roof and sides of the matatu were ripped off and seats ripped out by the force of the blast. Two vehicles parked nearby were also all but destroyed by the explosion.
One man told reporters: “It was a horrible. I saw five people dead and seven injured”. Other reports spoke of human body parts spread across the scene.
Police immediately cordoned off Juja Road allowing only emergency vehicles through.
Kenya Red Cross officials have confirmed up to 30 injured have been taken to Kenyatta National Hospital which recalled staff to duty to cope with the influx of injured people. Most of the survivors are reported to have suffered injuries to their chest, legs and abdomen.
“Most of the 28 victims are in a critical condition”, said Nicholas Thuo, the Red Cross’s Emergency Operations officer.
MATATU DRIVER FELT VEHICLE RISE IN THE AIR
The matatu’s driver, Mr Bernard Kibe, said he felt the explosion and his vehicle rising in the air before crashing to the ground. His conductor was thrown from the vehicle and hid by one of the doors that had been blown off in the explosion. Both men have survived the attack, however.
CONFLICTING REPORTS OF THE ATTACK
One eye witness reports that a grenade was thrown into a Bus No 28, Gikomba Kariobangi Dandora route.
Nairobi Police Chief Moses Nyakwama said: “The information we have is that there were about 25 people in the bus. It looks like it is an improvised explosive device that was thrown in it”, and continued, “It occurred at a congested place so even people passing by got injured.”
However, other reports suggest that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) had been left on the matatu by a passenger. Some eyewitness reports speak of a man seen running from the matatu, possibly trying to get to a saloon car following behind.
Provincial police officer Moses Ombati told the press that he saw a man jump out of the matatu and try to get into a car but he fell down as local people cornered him.
POLICE SAVE MAN FROM THE MOB AS YOUNG MEN GO ON RAMPAGE
Following the attack an unidentified man was saved by the police from mob lynching and police had to fire to air to disperse ‘fighting groups’.
The clashes broke out between non-Somalis and Somalis, with reports of some of the former breaking into houses looking to take reprisal action and Somali youths organising themselves into defence groups.
Hundreds of young men armed with makeshift weapons including knives, pangas and iron rods, were reported to have marched into neighbouring slums, attacking traders of Somali origin, looting business premises and attacking residents.
General Service Units (GSU) had to be deployed to intervene between the warring groups and fired warning shots in the air but several people were injured in the mob attacks and there are unconfirmed reports of at least one death.
The Eastleigh area of Nairobi has suffered several similar incidents in recent weeks.
Last Wednesday a suspected grenade attack took place in Joska Supermarket in Eastleigh, wounding one person and two weeks earlier another explosive device went off wounding two people.