Kenya grenade attack kills two, U.N. convoy hits landmine
Sat Nov 5, 2011 8:47pm GMT
* Grenade thrown, bomb found in Garissa, northern Kenya
* U.N. convoy hits landmine in Dadaab refugee camp
* Mounting risks facing aid workers near Somalia border (Adds grenade
By Noor Ali and Daud Yussuf
GARISSA, Kenya, Nov 5 (Reuters) - A grenade attack in Garissa, northern
Kenya, killed two people on Saturday, hours after a U.N. aid convoy struck a
landmine which failed to detonate in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp.
Kenya has been beset by a spate of attacks since it sent troops into
neighbouring Somalia last month to crush al Qaeda-linked rebels it blames
for a wave kidnappings and cross-border raids.
"We heard a blast and saw a flash light up the area. I rushed to the site
and saw two people lying in a pool of blood, dead. Three others were wounded
and screaming for help," Garissa resident Abdirahman Yussuf told Reuters.
A short while earlier, a bomb hidden in a bag was found planted beneath a
power transformer opposite a military camp, eye witnesses said. It did not
Garissa is an important military base in Kenya, from where ground forces
have been deployed across the frontier.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
Earlier on Saturday, a police-escorted U.N. convoy struck a landmine in the
Dadaab refugee complex near the border with Somalia, underscoring the
mounting threats facing aid groups and refugees in the camp.
The landmine did not explode, but the incident took place close to where two
Spanish women working for the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)
were kidnapped last month.
"The police land-cruiser was escorting the morning U.N. convoy to Hagadera
camp," District Commissioner Ndambuki Muthike said, referring to one of the
three camps at the refugee site.
"It ran over what was discovered to be a mine that had been partly buried in
the sand and covered with a cooking pot."
Security officials said it was not known who planted the device, which was
set just a few hundred metres from a police post. Banditry is common in the
area but landmines are rare.
The abduction of the Spanish MSF workers, who were taken into Somalia, was
the third in a rash of attacks on Westerners in Kenya.
The kidnapping helped spur Kenya into deploying forces across the border,
the latest country in a string of foreign powers to try and stabilise the
Horn of Africa country that has been mired in violence for two decades.
Analysts warn Kenya's incursion risks dragging it into a broader regional
Somalia's al Shabaab militants have vowed to bring the "flames of war"
across the frontier in retaliation. Security experts have also voiced
concerns the rebels would increasingly turn to softer targets, such as
tourists and aid workers.
Dadaab, located about 100 km (60 miles) from the Somali border, was set up
in 1991 to house Somalis fleeing violence in their country. The camp's
population has swollen to more than 460,000 people this year because of
famine in Somalia.
Separately, residents in the Kenyan border town of Hulugho said a gang of
suspected Somali gunmen riding donkeys attacked the frontier post late on
Friday. The raiders later crossed back into Somalia.
Kenya, east Africa's largest economy, has long looked warily at its chaotic
neighbour. Somali militants frequently launch cross-border assaults on
border towns and Kenyan security forces. (Additional reporting and writing
by Richard Lough; editing by Matthew Jones)
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
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Received on Sat Nov 05 2011 - 19:52:45 EDT