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Latest bomb blasts prove DFAT correct on terror threat

May 5, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Three people were killed and several wounded at the weekend in two explosions in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, a highly popular destination with western tourists.

In one incident, terrorists or bandits threw a bag with an explosive device into the Reef Hotel, guards at the hotel said. A roof of one building was ripped off by the blast and part of its wall collapsed, but the hotel’s management said all guests and staff were safe, ABC News reported.

The other attack in Mombasa at the weekend was more serious, killing three people at the busy Mwembe Tayari area of the city centre. In that attack, a grenade was reportedly hurled into a bus that had just arrived from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Two weeks ago, on 23 April, a car bomb exploded outside a police station in Nairobi, killing four people as police were taking the occupants of the car in for questioning.

While there has been no claim of responsibility, Kenya has been on alert for possible attacks by Somalia’s Al Shabaab rebels or local Islamist militants. Al Shabaab Islamist fanatics were behind the four-day siege at the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi last September in which 67 people died.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) got wind of the latest plots before the attacks happened and in early April increased its travel warning for Australians considering visiting Kenyan cities.

While the overall level of advice for Kenya remains “exercise a high degree of caution”, DFAT lifted its level of advice for Nairobi and Mombasa.

DFAT advised (and now advises) Australians to “reconsider their need to travel” to Nairobi and Mombasa due to a high threat of terrorist attack and high level of crime. “Reconsider your need to travel” is just one step down from “do not travel”, the highest level of DFAT advisory.

DFAT said at the time that information received over the previous couple of days suggested that attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa could occur “in the near future”; and that further civil unrest and violence in Mombasa is likely following the killing of a Muslim cleric on 1 April 2014.

Written by : Peter Needham

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