Explosion at Hotel in Kenya’s Mandera Town Kills Four

Authorities Blame al-Shabab for Deadly Blast.

An explosion at a small hotel near a police station in north-eastern Kenya killed four people on Monday (Mar. 25).

The blast took place in the town of Mandera, which is on the border with Somalia.

The town’s police chief Samwel Mutunga said that two of those wounded were in critical condition and would be flown to the capital, others were admitted at a hospital in Mandera.

“We had a total of 15 people injured and in the process of taking some to hospital, including police officers, we lost two at that particular moment, one officer and one civilian. As they were being attended to, we lost two more police officers,” Mutunga said.

The blast was caused by an improvised explosive device that had been planted at the hotel and was detonated as a crowd of people sat down to eat breakfast, police said.

Investigators blamed the extremist group al-Shabab for the attack.

“We have launched investigations and I am assuring you we are going to bring these perpetrators to book. We have some leads.”

The group, which hasn’t claimed responsibility for the explosion, has staged major attacks in Kenya and neighboring Somalia.

The last Al Shabab attack in Mandera was the kidnapping of two Cuban doctors in April 2019.

The latest attack followed another one on Sunday (Mar. 24) in coastal Kenya’s Lamu County, where two police reservists were also killed.

The area has a forest, which has often been the site of security operations because it’s a known hideout of al-Shabab militants.

During a police operation in Garissa County on Sunday, officers recovered materials to make IEDs, an AK-47 rifle, and two magazines. Three people escaped during the raid.

The area is near the Kenya-Somalia border, from where militants have in the past infiltrated and launched attacks.

The Kenyan government had last year announced plans to reopen the border with Somalia, but later postponed the reopening because of extremist attacks.