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Nation defiant as death toll rises from bus attacks

05 May 2014, 20:25

Nairobi - The toll from twin bus bombings in the Kenyan capital has risen to three dead with 86 wounded, the Kenyan Red Cross said Monday as authorities called for nationwide vigilance in the face of increased miliant attacks.

Sunday's bombings came a day after twin attacks in the port city of Mombasa that killed four people, both believed to be the work of suspects linked to Somalia's Shebab militants.

But Vice President William Ruto vowed Monday that Kenya will not pull its forces out of neighbouring Somalia.

According to Red Cross figures, 32 people were still being treated for wounds sustained in the bombing of the two buses along a busy highway just outside Nairobi city centre.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the weekend attacks -- although Kenyan authorities are currently engaged in a major security crackdown on suspected supporters of the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels.

Both Nairobi and Muslim-majority Mombasa, a port city that is one of the main gateways to east Africa as well as a popular tourist destination, have been hit by sporadic unrest in recent months -- although bomb attacks have increased in recent weeks.

Kenya has been targeted by the Shebab since sending troops to war-torn Somalia in 2011. Kenyan soldiers are still posted in southern Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting the country's fragile internationally-backed government.

"We will not relent," Ruto vowed. "We will not withdraw until Somalia has a stable and secure government free from terror."

"To recall our troops will provide a safe haven for the criminals to recruit and arm terrorists in Somalia who will eventually pose an even greater risk to Kenya and the region," Ruto added.

Police said no arrests had yet been made over the Nairobi attacks.

"Some of the suspects involved in these acts are Kenyans initially recruited into Shebab cells in Somalia for training and radicalisation who have now returned to perpetrate terrorist activities in the country," Ruto said.

"The government is also aware of the existence of a local network of sympathisers and facilitators residing among the general population.

"Just like the terrorists, they will also face consequences. The government will not allow terrorists, their facilitators or collaborators to dictate or blackmail us into changing our local or foreign policy," he said.

Ruto also issued a call for nationwide vigilance.

"We are asking the public to participate, to make it their business and report these incidents to our security agencies and we will be working together using a comprehensive program that will secure our country," he said.

"We are living together with others and it is only proper that Kenyans realise that reality and deal with it."



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