NAIROBI, KENYA – Another grenade attack rocked Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, today. At this hour, reports indicate that as many as 28 people have been hospitalized, with injuries ranging from burns to cuts.
The blast took place at a small shopping mall in Nairobi's central business district Monday afternoon.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called the blast an act of terrorism, contradicting earlier police reports that it was caused by an electrical failure.
"This is terrorism," Odinga told reporters at the site of the blast in Nairobi. "This is a heinous act. We are under threat, but we will not be cowed."
Glass littered the street where the incident occurred. Some bystanders stood stunned, while others called and texted friends and relatives.
One eyewitness, Steven Sifuna, a security guard in the adjacent building, says that he heard a loud sound that shook the ground.
"I thought the roof was going to crumble on me," Sifuna says.
Sifuna says he saw charred people crawling, dragging themselves out of the building and crying for help.
"They had no clothes on," he says. "You could only tell what gender they were when they spoke out asking for help."
Matthew Iteere, Kenya Police commissioner, first reported that the cause of the blast was an electrical failure.
"We are still investigating," he told reporters shortly after the blast.
Soon after, it was called an act of terrorism.
Roads in the central business district near the area of the blast are still cordoned off.
One member of the Nairobi City Council Fire Department, who refused to speak on the record for lack of authorization to speak to the press, says his team was first on scene to put out the flames. He says the fire caused by the blast didn't spread to other buildings because the roof of the mall was made of iron sheets.
Al-Shabab insurgents of Somalia and their supporters have taken responsibility for the wave of other grenade attacks in Nairobi this year, citing disapproval over Kenya’s decision to send tanks and troops into Somalia in late 2011. So far, no group has taken responsibility for today’s blast.