NAIROBI (Reuters) – Police fired tear gas to disperse Kenyans who threw stones and broke into the homes and shops of ethnic Somalis in Nairobi’s Somali-dominated Eastleigh neighbourhood on Monday to protest against a bomb attack in the district on Sunday.
Many Kenyans blamed Somalis for the blast. Police said on Monday that at least nine people were killed on Sunday when a bomb tore through a minibus in the Nairobi district often referred to as “Little Mogadishu”.
Kenya has suffered a string of deadly attacks, mostly blamed on Somali militants and their sympathisers in retaliation for Kenya’s deployment of troops in neighbouring Somalia last year to drive out al Shabaab rebels, who vowed to retaliate. Kenya has since suffered numerous gun and grenade raids.
In Eastleigh, mobs marauded through the streets chanting “Somalis must go!”
“These Somalis are getting used to this. Every day there is a grenade attack,” said Evans, a Kenyan resident of the area, wearing sandals and a dirty t-shirt with a print of Che Guevara.
“Last time I checked, this was still my country,” he said.
Streets in Eastleigh, a congested residential and business area, were strewn with rocks and shattered glass.
Crowds stood on the rooftops and the streets, while some ethnic Somalis gestured for assistance through their windows.
Pockets of Kenyans lobbed rocks at Somali premises in sporadic attacks, but fled when police fired teargas at them.
Police were not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting by Richard Lough; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Jon Hemming)