Blasts strike north Kenya, Red Cross says at least 12 wounded

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 01, 2014 2:47 PM

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Blasts struck Wajir town in northern Kenya near the border with Somalia on Monday evening and wounded at least 12 people, the Kenya Red Cross and police said.

The blasts, which one police officer said may have been set off by Somali Islamist militants, struck an area in Wajir called Ngamia, where there is a social club used by government workers and police posts.

"More casualties evacuated to hospital. Casualties number stands at 12," the Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter, following an earlier post that one person was feared dead.

Noah Mwivandia, county police commander in nearby Mandera, said three improvised explosive devices went off in the Ngamia area. "They exploded in succession and were followed by gunfire," he told Reuters.

Another police officer, who did not give his name, said the blasts were probably set off by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but al Shabaab said its recruits hijacked a bus in north Kenya last month and shot dead 28 non-Muslim passengers.

The group has said it will continue attacks on Kenya for the Nairobi government's sending of Kenyan troops to Somalia with an African Union peacekeepinng force. The African forces have been battling al Shabaab militants and driving them out of strongholds there.

A spate of attacks by al Shabaab since last year has stoked criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government, who opponents say has not done enough to protect the public and has failed to shake-up the security service.

(Reporting by Noor Ali in Garissa and Joseph Akwiri in Mombasa, Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Angus MacSwan)