CCTV Africa reported Sunday morning, May 4th, that a terrorist bombing occurred in the capital city of Nairobi, Kenya. Two buses driving in the East African Nation were struck by explosives that were hand-thrown at them as they traveled along the Thika Highway in Nairobi. Earlier in the day, sources reported that at least 2 people had been killed while dozens of others were injured. It is now confirmed that 3 people have been killed and approximately 60 people have been injured by the explosions.
The casualties on Sunday follow a bombing on Saturday that killed 4 in the coastal town of Mombasa. Al-Qaeda-related rebels, al-Shabab, are charged with the attacks and are said to have utilized improvised explosives in these and a series of other bombings. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, states that al-Shabab is seeking to provoke a religious war after Kenya sent troops to Somalia years ago in order to quell extremists in the region.
In September of 2013, an attack on Westgate Mall killed around 67 people and shined an international spotlight on the threat of terrorism in the nation. Four Somalian men were tried in court in November for the attacks on Westgate, though the legal battle created even more confusion surrounding the tragic incident. In court, confusion questions surrounding the nationality of 2 of the men surfaced. Communication between accusers and the accused broke down. At the time of the shootings, authorities claimed that as many as 11 gunmen may have been involved in the tragic killing spree.
Tensions between Somalians and Kenyans were underscored again last month when 4 men, 2 Kenyan police officers and 2 Somalians, were killed by a car explosion. Three Somalian men were arrested and charged with the attack and are expected to be seen in court sometime this week.
In response to the wave of attacks in Kenya, the nation is carrying out security sweeps aimed at finding and expelling terrorists and illegal aliens from conflicted, surrounding countries. The sweeps have sparked an international conversation regarding human rights and some groups claim that Kenya is unfairly targeting Somalis.
Kenya is a Republic adjacent the Indian Ocean with an estimated population of 45 million people. The official languages in the country are English and Kiswahili and an overwhelming majority, 82.5%, of the population identifies as Christian. The government, however, is a mixture of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law. It is one of the largest economies in Africa, with a GDP of almost $80 billion. The literacy rate hovers around 87%, for both men and women.
In contrast, Kenya’s eastern neighbor and current adversary Somalia is an almost entirely Islamic nation with official languages of Somali and Arabic. The CIA World Factbook states that the country of 10 million is currently in the process of founding a federal parliamentary republic and has a mixed legal system of civil law, Islamic law, and customary law. The GDP of the nation is a little less than $6 billion, and livestock remains the livelihood for many of Somalia’s inhabitants. The literacy rate hovers around 50% for men and almost half of that for women.
Tensions between the two nations have continued to escalate and terrorist attacks and violence have become commonplace since 2011. The latest attacks on the buses in Nairobi took another 3 innocent people’s lives. Though the explosions were tragic and seemingly provocative, Kenya is determined not to resort to war.
By James Ryder