GRENADE ATTACK TARGETS POPULAR ROADSIDE BAR IN DIANI
(Posted 02nd January 2014)
An apparently targeted grenade attack in the early hours of Thursday, with the Tandoori bar still full of revelers, inured at least 10 people, some of them reportedly seriously. While no nationalities have been disclosed as yet from the Diani Police it is suspected that several Kenyans as well as perhaps foreigners could be among the injured who were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
Only a few weeks ago was a grenade thrown at a tourist bus at the Likoni ferry crossing, but failed to explode and while the culprit escaped the two British tourists in the vehicle equally escaped with a fright but thankfully nothing worse.
Mombasa has until now been a relatively safe place to visit for overseas tourists, as apart from the attempted and failed shootdown of an Israeli aircraft and the subsequent bombing of an Israeli contracted tourism resort in Kikambala nearly 10 years ago, no foreign tourists were targeted and Al Shabab masterminded attacks were limited to hitting local Kenyan targets.
This escalation comes at a time when the coast tourism industry is experiencing a significant down turn in arrivals and occupancies and while the hotels and resorts at the coast were quite full over the Christmas and New Year period, many of the visitors actually coming from upcountry Kenya and the wider region, this is expected to change by the end of this week when overseas tourists return back home as do the locals who have to return to work next Monday.
A local source from the coast had this to say, immediately responding to an email as a sign of being in emergency mode: ‘If these guys are now starting to target tourists, it will be a change of tactics. Our resorts and hotels are well protected of course but like the bar where this happened last night, someone can hurl a grenade from outside under the cover of darkness and run away. That is perhaps what has happened because from my information there is no indication of a suicide bombing which would have been so much worse. The negative publicity for us here in Diani will be bad of course but can now not be avoided. It is up to our government to strengthen surveillance and intelligence gathering to find and eliminate these cells which have found their way into Kenya. The ideology is foreign but they found willing young people and brainwashed them. I have lived at the coast for a very very long time and Mombasa was for the most time tolerant of the different religions. Hindus and Sikhs, Muslims and Christians have always respected each other. Mombasa never was a hot bed for radicals but it seems there has been infiltration from across the border in Somalia and maybe even other Al Qaida target countries like Yemen where they are active. Our hearts go out to those injured and we hope they will all fully recover. I will keep you posted’.
Local police and other security operatives are on the scene to collect forensic evidence and a drag net has been rolled out to conduct searches and question people in nearby local villages as the hunt for the terrorist or terrorists, who reportedly escaped on a motorcycle, is now fully underway.
Other regular contacts were not immediately available for more comments and as and when updates of confirmed details become available, the will be published here in a follow up news broadcast. Watch this space.
Update received just now confirms that no foreign tourists were among those injured at 13.30 local East African time. Readers please note that the first version of this article was based on information released by the Diani Police Chief Mr. Jack Ekakuro:
On publication of the article several local Diani based sources got in touch and promised updates of the incident last night. One source wrote: ‘Grenade thrown from a passing car landing on the Makuti roof dropping onto the floor injuring 10 – 4 of which seriously – NO tourists harmed as per reliable police sources. Could be a local drug gang war rather than targeting tourists for which there would have been far more vulnerable objects and also not at 4.30 am !!