Kenyan authorities have heightened security in the coastal city of Mombasa on Thursday after unsuccessful grenade attack on a tourist van by suspected ‘al Shabaab’ terror group.
Police said unknown assailant hurled a hand grenade, which failed to explode, at JT Tours vehicle which was carrying two Britons in Likoni area.
Mombasa county commander Robert Kitur told Xinhua that the two British tourists were heading to the world’s famous Maasai Mara from Diani in Mombasa when they were attacked.
“The Russian Made F1 grenade did not explode but only landed besides the road. We have launched investigation into the incident, ” Kitur said in Mombasa.
The tourist alighted from the vehicle before proceeding to Likoni police station.
A combined team of officers from bomb experts and anti- terrorism police unit visited the scene and cordoned off the area before detonating the grenade.
Senior anti-terrorism police officers said the attackers had planned to cause massive damage but it failed.
This is the first attack targeting tourist to be reported in the country since the incursion of Kenya troops in Somalia in 2011 to fight the ‘al Shabaab’ militant.
Kenya’s coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.
The country’s tourism has suffered a decline in the number of tourists arriving since September 2011 when the Somali militant group, the ‘al Shabaab’, carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago and the kidnapping of the Spanish volunteers.
Kitur said more police officers have been deployed to key installations to avert any terrorism plot during the festive season.
He said police have intensified patrols at tourist hotels and government installations that might be targeted by the militant.
The Mombasa police commander urged hotel owners to be more vigilant and report suspected visitors to the police.
Kitur said hotels have tightened their procedures for screening guests.
“We are appealing to everybody to exercise caution especially this festive season and share information with security agencies to win the war on terror,” Kitur said.