Monday, October 24, 2011

Grenade Attack on Nairobi Disco Injures 14

A fragmentation grenade thrown into the Mwauras discotheque in Nairobi early on Monday (October 24) injured 14 people, all Kenyans, in an attack that police are linking to recent threats made by Somalian Shebaab militants. Most injuries in the attack were minor, although several involved serious head and face injuries.

Additionally, the US Embassy in the Kenyan capital had warned Saturday (October 22) of an "imminent threat" of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, one week after Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia to hunt down al-Qaeda-linked Shebaab fighters.

COMMENT: Last week, Kenya sent ground troops and accompanying air support across its border with Somalia to hunt insurgents it blames for the abductions of a British tourist, a disabled French woman who has since died in captivity and two Spanish aid workers. The radical Islamic Shebaab, who deny kidnapping foreigners, have repeatedly warned of bloody retaliation.

As we've seen in terrorist attacks in such countries as the UK, Turkey, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Spain and the Philippines, very often the victims of such operations are predominantly local nationals, who are often targeted to embarrass the host government who often support global efforts in countering terrorism.

The disco attack might also be a warning that more serious attacks in the future are possible, yet it is doubtful that Kenya will withdraw its forces until such time as it meets its objectives for its incursion into Somalia.

As a result of the grenade attack, Kenyan security forces have beefed up their visible security presence throughout the capital.

From past experience, an incident involving fatalities should be expected as long as the Kenyan military is operating inside Somalia. Likely targets include embassies, airline offices, tourist destinations, popular restaurants, etc.

For cautionary steps that residents can take, please refer to my earlier posting on the US Embassy threat warning.

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