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Mombasa security forces on high alert after 'terrorist' attack

02 January 2014, 14:15

Nairobi - Security authorities have beefed up security in the entire coastal region following a grenade attack at a night club early Thursday in the tourist resort Diani in Kwale, south of Mombasa, that left at least 10 people wounded.

Police said the assailants hurled a grenade into a popular club in Ukunda at 3 a.m. local time before they fled on a motorbike.

Msambweni police commander Jack Ekakuro said the injured were rushed to hospital and in stable condition after sustaining minor injuries at Tandoori bar.

"We have established that a grenade was detonated in the morning attack that has left revelers injured and a major manhunt has been launched," Ekakuro said and confirmed that security patrols around hotels and tourism resorts have been enhanced.

The attack is a blow to the East African country's tourism industry given Diani is one of the busiest areas in the coastal region that attracts a huge number of tourists locally and internationally.

Bomb experts arrived at the scene hours later and officials are yet to give details on the nature of the grenade used. Grenade attacks are common since Kenyan troops crossed the border into Somalia to contain Al-Shabaab militants in October 2011.

"The grenade did not land where there were very many people, it exploded at the pool tables where there were few people," Ekakuro said.

Some police officers said although no one had claimed responsibility for the incidents, attacks are suspected to be linked to the Somali armed group Al-Shabaab.

Others confided that the Diani bomb attack targeted "local pub" and likely carried out by "normal criminals on a revenge mission."

"Our officers are working on crucial leads that could lead to the arrest of the attackers whom we suspect to have escaped on a motorbike. We will catch-up with them," said Ekakuro.

The club is among the popular joints in the Diani frequented by both foreigners and locals. Police said the club was parked by both foreigners and local ushering the New Year but no tourist was injured during the attack.

The coastal towns are the backbone of Kenya's thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.

The country's tourism has suffered a decline the number of tourists arriving since September 2011 when the Somali militant group, the Al-Shabaab, carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago and the kidnapping of the Spanish volunteers.

Tourism is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue for Kenya after tea, with the main tourist attractions being photo safaris through 19 national parks and game reserves, though the country has been diversifying to other areas like eco- tourism, conference tourism and cultural tourism.

The port city, the capital Nairobi and other parts of Kenya have suffered a series of grenade attacks since the military incursion into southern Somalia.

Ekakuro said the said police are on higher alert and intensified patrols in south Coast to assure visitors who are enjoying their holidays in the region of their safety.

"We want to assure Kenyans that we have elaborate security measures we have put in place to counter terror related incidents in the region," said Kwale County Commissioner Evans Achoki.

A team of anti terrorism police officers visited the scene and collected crucial evidence to assist in the investigation.

Reliable sources said that the terror suspect have relocated to south coast to plot attacks and recruit for youth to carry out the attack.

The incidents come in the wake of increase cases of radicalization of Muslim youths in the coastal region. The police said they are monitoring the radicalized youths implicated in several attacks including killing of Muslim clerics.

The youths have invaded several mosques and forcefully taken over leadership to preach Jihad sermons

The government has warned of decisive action against the radicalization of Muslim youths believed to be behind runaway crime at the Coast.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government was concerned over increased radicalization and recruitment of Muslim youths from the Coast to fight for terrorists groups in the region adding that they would be dealt with.

- Xinhua

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