By Cyrus Ombati
Nairobi, Kenya: There was panic at a bus stop in Kariobangi when a bomb was found abandoned in a public service vehicle that had ferried passengers from the city centre.
The Improvised Explosive Device had been manufactured and was ready for detonation when the matatu crew discovered it on Sunday.
Police said they suspect the owners of the explosive had set it and alighted ready to detonate but it failed.
The conclusion was arrived at after they found 42 missed calls on a mobile phone that was found next to the bomb.
Bomb experts who arrived there said the bomb had the capacity of causing massive deaths and destruction of property.
The 25-sitter matatu, which plies Nairobi-Kariobangi route, had made several trips but the crew could not tell where the person who had the bag containing the explosive boarded.
Nairobi Area deputy head of police Moses Ombati said the IED resembles the ones that have been used in attacks in parts of Eastleigh, Nairobi.
“It could have caused deaths and destruction. It seems the owners tried to set it off in vain,” said Ombati.
Ombati said the matatu tout told them he noticed the bomb abandoned in the matatu after all passengers had alighted.
The bomb had been wrapped in a bag and when the tout, out of curiosity opened it he thought it was a laptop only to realise wires that led him to the bomb.
The police boss said the number of missed calls on the mobile phone demonstrated that the owners tried to set it off in vain.
Bomb experts from CID headquarters arrived at the scene and carried away the explosive saying they will detonate it later.
Last year on November 18, a similar matatu was targeted in a bomb explosion that killed ten passengers and injured several others.
The bomb was detonated from outside after the owners had abandoned it in the matatu and alighted.
Police have not solved the case. Eastleigh has been a target in the past years as up to ten explosions have occurred there in what police claim are attacks being staged by remnants of Al-Shabaab terror gang.
On Sunday, police urged matatu operators to intensify searches on passengers and their luggage as a way of deterring such attacks.