Three people were killed and scores hurt on Saturday when two explosions rocked the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa, Kenya’s Interior Ministry said.

All the casualties occurred when a grenade was thrown into a crowd at a bus stop in central Mombasa about 8:15 p.m. (1700 GMT), Mombasa police chief Robert Kitur told dpa by phone. He provided no further details.

The Kenya Red Cross reported 21 people were injured.

A second blast occurred at the Nyali Reef hotel, an upscale resort just north of Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, but no casualties occurred in that blast, Mr. Kitur said.

Authorities have blamed a number of attacks on the Somali radical Islamist group al-Shabaab. It claimed responsibility for a September attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, which killed 67 people.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi sent out an emergency message shortly after the blasts urging all U.S. citizens in Mombasa to shelter in place and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Small grenade and gun attacks have occurred regularly on Kenya’s coast ever since the east African nation invaded Somalia to fight the al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab extremists. Police routinely blame al-Shabaab and its sympathizers for the attacks though few people have been charged in court in connection with the blasts.

Saturday’s bombings occurred despite a major police crackdown that has seen thousands of people arrested across the country over the past month. The round-up has been heavily criticised by human rights groups that say it has targeted ethnic Somalis instead of criminals.

Numerous radical Islamist leaders also have been gunned down on the coast in mysterious circumstances, but the violence has not abated.

On April 1, the controversial cleric Abubaker Shariff was killed and his followers have vowed to avenge the death.

Last week a car bomb at a police station in Nairobi killed four people including two police officers.

Kenya’s tourism industry is heavily dependent on visitors, but has taken a major hit due to the widespread insecurity.


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