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Terrorism & Security

Kenya bomb attacks kill six at constitution rally

Church leaders who oppose a new draft constitution are blaming the Kenyan government for a hand in the Kenya bomb attacks Sunday night in Nairobi that killed six and wounded more than 100 people.

By Liam StackCorrespondent / June 14, 2010

Kenyan soldiers stood at the spot where a grenade blast at a prayer meeting took place Sunday in Nairobi. The attacks at a Kenyan rally may have been carried out by those seeking to block passage of a proposed constitution in order to protect personal interests, analysts said on Monday. At least six people were killed and dozens injured by the blasts at the prayer meeting organized by church leaders who are opposing the proposed new law.

REUTERS/Noor Khamis

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Kenyan police are on the hunt for bombers who attacked a Nairobi political rally on Sunday night, killing at least six and injuring more than 100 in the run-up to an Aug. 4 national referendum on proposed constitutional changes. The blast underscores the political fragility in one of America's most important East African allies, three years after election violence there left 1,500 dead and 300,000 displaced.

Two blasts occurred minutes apart at the end of a rally protesting the proposed draft constitution as a Nairobi bishop was leading the several thousand attendees in a closing prayer, reports the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. Kenya’s The Standard newspaper reports that a 10-year-old boy was among the dead.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing nor is it known what weapons were used in the attack, although the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation reports that initial police reports suggested hand grenades.

The rally fell apart as people scattered after the initial explosion, which the British Broadcasting Corporation caught on tape. (Watch BBC video of the scene here.) Prayer leaders urged the crowd to remain calm, reported Agence France-Presse.

Police sealed off the vast park as ambulances converged on the scene, then sped away to take the casualties to various hospitals.

Several thousand people were attending the rally, where organisers and speakers appealed for calm from the podium.

While the government has so far not named any suspects, opponents of the draft constitution have blamed its supporters for the attack. That charge has been made by Bishop James Nganga, who was leading prayers at the time of the attack, as well as by Higher Education Minister William Ruto, who blamed it on “people hell-bent on forcing a new constitution on Kenyans."

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