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Two injured after IED explodes outside Odeon Cinema – PHOTOS

Two people suffered injuries on Saturday night following an explosion outside a restaurant at the Tom Mboya Street – Latema Road intersection in Nairobi’s Central Business District.

The blast, which is suspected to have been caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), occurred shortly after 7pm outside Smothers Fast Food Restaurant on Tom Mboya Street.

The two injured persons were identified as a trolley pusher by the name Joseph Okinyi and a newspaper vendor.

Witnesses reported seeing a man pushing a trolley outside the restaurant. Seconds later, a huge blast was heard sending members of the public scampering to safety.

Speaking at the scene, Nairobi regional police commander Philip Ndolo said a man of Somali descent had procured the help of the trolley pusher to carry an unidentified package across the city.

A police officer clears a crowd off along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi where an explosion happened on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
A police officer clears a crowd off along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi where an explosion happened on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The two reportedly walked together up to the junction before he pretended he had forgotten his identification card.

“As they were reaching the junction between Latema and Tom Mboya, the gentleman pretended to have forgotten his ID and therefore requested Joseph Okinyi to stop there so that he can dash back to get his ID,” Ndolo said.

He added that it was when Okinyi was still standing there that the box exploded.

“Okinyi suffered some slight injuries on his right hand while a nearby newspaper vendor also suffered slight injuries on his right leg,” Ndolo said.

Police officers at the scene of explosion at the Latema Road - Tom Mboya intersection in Nairobi on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Police officers at the scene of explosion at the Latema Road – Tom Mboya intersection in Nairobi on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

The incident was confirmed by the Central Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) Robinson Thuku.

According to a Nation photographer on the ground, two people were taken away for treatment.

Officers from the anti-terrorism police and the General Service Unit rushed to the scene and sealed it off.

So loud was the blast that it was heard as far as Koinange Street, causing panic and disrupting the vibrant Nairobi night life.

Police officers inspect the scene of an explosion at the Latema Road - Tom Mboya Street intersection in Nairobi on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Police officers inspect the scene of an explosion at the Latema Road – Tom Mboya Street intersection in Nairobi on January 26, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

Police spokesman Charles Owino said anti-terrorism police had secured the scene and appealed to the public to stay away.

“It was a minor explosion and officers from the anti-terrorism police have sealed off the scene and we are asking members of the public to stay away from the scene completely and let the experts handle the matter,” he said on telephone.

The blast comes only days after terrorists attacked the DusitD2 Hotel on 14 Riverside Drive in Nairobi, killing 21 people.

At the same time Police have cautioned members of the public to be extra vigilant in the wake of the recent incidents in Nairobi pointing out the importance of citizens to step up their levels of alertness regarding their surroundings and provide information of any suspicious incidents.