Kenyans React With Anger Over Terrorist Attacks

By Stephen Mbogo | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

Nairobi, Kenya ( - Kenyans reacted with anger and surprise over terrorist attacks on Thursday against Israel interests in the seaside city of Mombasa.

The two attacks, one targeting an Israel patronized hotel and another at Israel airline resulted in 15 deaths, police confirmed here.

Kenyans, however, said they have no regrets over their cordial relationship with Israel and the United States.

Along the streets of Nairobi and Mombasa cities, Kenyans were asking why they had to "suffer for crimes not associated with them."

"It is unfortunate but those carrying out these deadly activities are not aware that it is Kenyans who suffer more and yet we have nothing to do with the Middle East crisis," said Jalan'go Omondi in Nairobi.

President Daniel arap Moi condemned the attacks and said all efforts will be make to bring the culprits to justice.

He said if necessary, Kenya would go it alone in fighting terrorism in the region.

Police spokesperson Kingori Mwangi said police are questioning two suspects in connection with the attacks.

The greatest impact will be felt in the tourism sector, which was on a recovery trail following problems associated Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Kenya Tourist Board chairman Raymond Matiba while regretting the incident assured visitors and investors that Kenya's tourism sector would continue to operate as normal.

The attacks will precipitate further unemployment, because tourism is the major employment provider in Mombasa.

Col. Jan Kamenju Nairobi-based Security Research and Information Service said there is a need to improve intelligence gathering in the region.

Kamenju said more political will rather than police and military efforts is needed to curb the growth of terrorism cells in Kenya.

He said the public should be empowered through public education to enable them to identify their bad neighbors and report any terrorism traits in individuals.

Kamenju said trade in small arms in the region, thanks to the unstable and failed neighboring states is a major aid to the growth of terrorism networks in Kenya.

Outgoing legislator Musikari Kombo said corruption within the police force enabled dangerous materials to go in and out of the country without much hassle.

He said there is a need for legislation in Kenya to protect whistleblowers to motivate the public to report suspicious activities and individuals.

Kombo also said there is a need to demystify relations between Kenya and Israel so that Kenyans will understand why such attacks had to happen here.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.