Bloomberg News

Kenya Police Seek Two Men After Saying Bomb Caused Blast

May 29, 2012

Kenyan police blamed a bomb for an explosion that wounded 33 people in Nairobi, after earlier saying an electrical fault may have caused the blast, as investigators identified two men suspected of setting it off.

One of the men may have entered Kenya from neighboring Somalia with forged papers on May 3, and is either a Turkish or German citizen named Emrah Erdogan, police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said today in an e-mailed statement. The explosion happened inside a one-story shopping complex in the capital city yesterday.

“Investigators have now concluded that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device planted in the building by criminal elements,” he said. “The team is zeroing in on two male suspects.”

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militia has threatened to carry out attacks in Kenya after the country deployed its army to southern Somalia in mid-October to fight the group. Al-Shabaab has waged a campaign since 2007 to oust Somalia’s United Nations-backed transitional government.

The incursion into Somalia was followed by bomb attacks in Nairobi that killed at least eight people, and others in the port city of Mombasa and towns near Kenya’s northeastern border with Somalia.

Turkey has taken a bigger role in efforts to restore peace in Somalia, which has had no effective central government since 1991. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Mogadishu, the Somali capital, in August, and in June Turkey is due to host a peace conference in Istanbul.

FBI Assistance

Police first blamed an electrical fault for the explosion yesterday, saying later that a bomb was a possibility. Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday vowed to pursue any “terrorists” targeting the East African nation.

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting Kenyan police in the probe, John Haynes, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, said by phone today.

Police were interrogating a suspect who was arrested running from the scene, Kiraithe said by phone earlier today.

It was not clear from the statement whether the second suspect was under arrest and no name was given. Kiraithe didn’t answer four phone calls or return a mobile-phone text message.

Kenya’s shilling fell 0.6 percent to 85.90 per dollar by 7:15 p.m. in Nairobi, the lowest in four months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net; Bryson Hull in Nairobi at bhull5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net


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