Bomb scare closes businesses in Kenya's Mombasa

Local business was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after an unattended bag sparked a bomb scare in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa

Local business was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after an unattended bag sparked a bomb scare in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa

NAIROBI – Local business was brought to a standstill on Tuesday after an unattended bag sparked a bomb scare in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, which has recently been rocked by a string of bombings.

"A man left a bag outside the doors of the Summerlink Hotel and disappeared, prompting somebody to raise an alarm. Before long, every shop in the area was closed," eyewitness William Oga told Anadolu Agency.

Shortly afterward, police arrived at the scene in the city's central business district where they scrambled to disperse the crowd as bomb experts examined the suspicious bag.

"I saw a great number of police officers arriving. Bomb experts put on their protective clothing and moved closer to the bag before we were asked to lie down," Oga said.

"We then heard a loud explosion, but we were informed that no explosives were present," he added.

While addressing reporters at the scene, Tom Okoth, deputy Officer Commanding Police Division in the Mombasa area, tried to reassure the public.

"We are on top of things; we are doing our level best. Anything small must be taken seriously wherever it involves a scare like that we have taken care of," Okoth said.

"The loud blast you heard today was a detonation by the bomb experts, which aimed to set off any explosive if any was present, but there were none," he added.

"We have found passports and travel documents, so we will track the bag's owner down," the police officer asserted.

On May 3, a man left a plastic bag near a prominent beach hotel in Mombasa. After he left, the bag exploded without causing injuries. Moments later, a grenade was hurled at a bus in Mombasa, killing four and wounding many others.

Police said the two incidents were likely connected.

In March, gunmen stormed a church in Likoni near Mombasa, killing two people on the spot and hurting four others who later succumbed to their injuries.

Kenyan authorities blame the attacks on Somalia's militant Al-Shabaab group, which demands that Nairobi withdraw its troops – dispatched in 2011 – from Somalia.

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