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Police on high alert amid discovery of bombs

04 April 2014, 08:13

Nairobi - Police said Thursday they are on high alert following a public tip-off on a possible explosive devices in Nairobi.

Nairobi County deputy police commander Moses Ombati said they are not taking any chances due to increased incidents of insecurity across the country. "We will act for every tip-off from members of the public to ensure people are safe," he said by telephone.

Ombati's comments came after bomb squad experts and security agencies found an explosive outside the Nairobi Women's Hospital in Nairobi.

The grenade was discovered by a worker who was working on a flower garden on Thursday and later alerted police. The explosive devise was buried in the garden of the house that is next to the hospital.

Bomb squad experts who went to the location said the old device appeared rusty and since it had buried in the soil for a long time. They however said that the grenade was real but was harmless.

"A suspected explosive device was found near Nairobi Women's Hospital after a tip-off from the public. The bomb unit has found the device to be harmless," the National Disaster Operations Center said.

Bomb Disposal Unit head Eliud Langat confirmed the grenade was real and could have caused damage or death had it been tampered with or triggered.

"It was a live grenade but of old model. We do not know who took it there and the motive behind it," Langat said after destroying the grenade safely.

The old device, which appeared rusty and probably been buried in the soil for a long time, was discovered by people who had been hired for landscaping, and they had to stop their work, as bomb disposal experts were called in to safely detonate the device.

Langat said they later safely disabled the grenade. A guard at the compound Kizito Ambalwa said the gardener was busy at the garden when he stumbled on the grenade.

This latest development follows another operation by the bomb squad on Wednesday along Nairobi's Juja Road where an improvised explosive device was detonated after members of the public alerted police.

The explosives were detonated by the police and nobody was injured.

"This pre-emptive measure is a manifestation of police pro- activeness and the positive results of police/public engagement which if sustained will definitely lead to a gradual safe and secure environment for all," Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said.

Security has tightened in major settlements around the country after attacks in Nairobi's Eastleigh area on Monday evening where three explosions were reported that killed six people and wounding 31 others.

Kimaiyo said they are still profiling several suspects who have been arrested during the ongoing security operation in Nairobi, most of whom do not have identification documents.

"Those without identification documents were charged with the offense of being in Kenya illegally/failing to register. Students were released. Some are waiting for the verification of their documents and we are holding others for further interrogation."

Among those arrested in the swoop is Sheikh Mahat Omar, aged about 55, who was arrested with two grenades in his house in Eastleigh.

Omar on Thursday pleaded not guilty to the charges of possessing grenades and also being a member of Al-Shabaab.

Prosecutors told the court that security agencies are still searching for 18 more grenades that Omar and his wife are said to have had before a raid was conducted in their house.

Police also recovered two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the area on Tuesday night in the ongoing operations. Kimaiyo has appealed to the public to continue giving information on any possible terror threat.

- Xinhua

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