ANOTHER BLAST HITS KENYA ALONG MAIN HIGHWAY TO THIKA NEAR KASARANI SPORTS COMPLEX – ETN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT WITHIN EARSHOT OF EXPLOSION
(Posted 04th May 2014)
Sirens are screaming their way into the area near the Kasarani Sports Centre on the main highway from Nairobi to Thika, where not long after 5 pm a loud blast was heard, indicating an explosion of sorts.
Security staff at the hotel gates were on visible alert, with armed police officers boosting hotel and hired security personnel and keen to keep guests inside.
Only hours ago was this correspondent taking a walk from the hotel to the Thika Road Mall, where from hectic communications now going on the blast site is located although the Twitter time lines are saying there was a second explosion, perhaps at the same time, outside the Homeland Inn, also along the same highway.
Going by the number of ambulances which rushed by along the highway, visible from the hotel’s gate number 2 which is now under lockdown, the emergency services seem to expect a significant number of casualties and although no numbers have yet emerged, should indeed have the blast occurred inside a bus the event could be worse than the explosions in Mombasa yesterday late afternoon.
At this stage, an hour after the blast, are ambulances now returning, very likely with people injured in the blast, back towards the city to take them to hospitals which are gearing up towards a major incident and according to one doctor acquaintance have issued recalls for staff and surgeons to be able to deal with the casualties when they arrive.
This latest in a series of similar incidents is happening as the aviation industry from across Africa is gathering at the Safari Park Hotel for AFRAA’s 3rd Convention for Aviation Suppliers and Stakeholders which is taking place in the same venue where only two days earlier the Heads of State of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda met for one of their scheduled summits to review the progress made on infrastructure, security and economic cooperation.
Graphic twitter pictures have been received, some too gruesome to publish, taken by mobile phones and uploaded on social media, giving an idea what has happened an hour ago inside that bus.
My sympathy is with the people of Kenya and my many friends I have especially in Nairobi. Coming within earshot of another terror strike, carried out no doubt by sympathizers of Al Shabab or Al Shabab operatives directly, is a sharp reminder of how fragile life is and that yet greater vigilance and safeguards are needed to ensure people in Kenya, and around the world for that matter are safe.
Needless to say I will stay the course of the conference and intend to return to Kenya in a week for the Hotel Summit East Africa and the Kenya Hospitality Trade Show, as a sign of solidarity with my Kenyan brothers and sisters but also to not ever allow terrorism to make me change my plans or what I do.
I extend, on behalf of the entire eTN team, our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims.