NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A suspected militant died while planting an improvised explosive device in eastern Kenya at a venue where one of the country’s presidential contenders was going to hold a campaign rally, officials said Sunday
Ngatia Iregi, the Northeastern Province deputy criminal investigations chief, said they found charred pieces of at least one body and two pistols at the Garissa primary school field after a loud explosion was reported Saturday night. One of the pistols had been stolen from Criminal Investigations Department officers who were victim to an attack by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants in Garissa last year, Iregi said. One officer died and another was wounded in that incident.
One of Kenya’s eight presidential contenders Martha Karua was set to address a campaign rally at the ground on Sunday afternoon, said Abdirahman Boor, a parliamentary aspirant of Karua’s National Rainbow Coalition Kenya party. The rally would be postponed, he said.
Polls have ranked Karua, the only female candidate for the March 4 elections, as the fifth most popular candidate out of eight.
The blast pierced through the iron sheet roof that covered a raised platform at the primary school where officials were going to address a rally.
Immediately after Kenya’s electoral authority registered the presidential candidates on Jan. 30, the government provided them with a full-time security crew of at least five police officers.
Kenya has experienced a spate attacks since it sent its troops to Somalia in October 2011 to fight the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab insurgents who were blamed for attacks on Kenya soil. The militants vowed to carry out attacks in Kenya in retaliation.