NAIROBI, Kenya — Twin explosions hit a market area in downtown Nairobi on Friday afternoon, killing 10 people and injuring 76 others, officials said, adding to a series of deadly attacks in the country in recent months.
The blasts came after a number of Western embassies had issued advisories against travel to Kenya because of fears of such attacks. British authorities were in the process of evacuating hundreds of tourists from the coastal town of Mombasa even before the explosions in Nairobi took place Friday.
Authorities said that two explosive devices had gone off at 2:30 p.m., one in a minibus, and the other in the market nearby. Two suspects have been arrested and are being investigated, officials said. No group has claimed responsibility, but the authorities have attributed other attacks in recent months to a Somali extremist group, the al-Shabab.
In response to the attacks, Kenyan authorities have undertaken a broad enforcement campaign, interrogating and arresting thousands of immigrants, refugees and members of Kenya’s large Somali community. Human rights groups have criticized the campaign as abusive and discriminatory, while Kenyan authorities have called it a legal reaction to what they call a recent escalation in terrorist activity in the nation.
Officials immediately condemned the latest attack.
“Many countries are faced with terrorism; it’s not a purely Kenyan issue,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation address. “We must therefore unite to combat terror.”
Dozens of relatives of injured people gathered outside the Kenyatta National Hospital waiting for news about their loved ones.
“We are told that he is not well,” Jonathan Kandu, 40, said of an uncle who was taken to the hospital. “We feel we are not secure at all.”
Thomson and First Choice, a tour operator with many of its clients in Kenya, said the latest warnings of an enhanced threat had prompted it to cancel all its flights to Mombasa until Oct. 31 and “to repatriate all customers currently on holiday in Kenya back to the U.K.”