Shabaab suicide bomber kills couple in Kisumu

An Al-Shabaab suspect detonated an explosive in Kamloma village, North East Nyakach, Kisumu County, killing himself and two others.

The two, a husband and his wife, died in the Tuesday night incident, while a teenager was also injured and is recuperating at a local hospital.

Police said they are treating the incident as a terrorist act.

According to a police report, the suspect, Mr John Odhiambo Ondiek, alias Pope, went to the homestead of one Petro Onyango, whom he found seated outside his house with his wife Mary Atieno and their daughter Nancy Aoko.

Ondiek is said to have questioned them on things they did not understand before blowing himself up.

“Suddenly an improvised explosive device he was carrying exploded, killing the suspect and Mary Atieno on the spot,” read the police report.

The explosion left Mzee Petro seriously injured. He was rushed to Nyakach Sub-County Hospital at Pap Onditi but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Ms Aoko suffered serious injuries and was receiving treatment at Katito Hospital.

A team of officers from the Katito Police Station and sub-county criminal investigation officers from Nyakach visited the scene to start investigations.

It has, however, emerged that it is not the first time the man attempted such a terrorist act.

According to police, on December 17, 2020, the suspect detonated an explosive device at Katito market, attempting to kill his girlfriend in a house but she escaped unhurt.

“After the Katito incident, the suspect disappeared to an unknown location just to resurface today to attack people at Kamloma village,” said the report.

Kamloma villagers identified the body as that of Ondiek.

Detectives were, however, yet to establish the motive for Tuesday’s attack.

The incident comes a few weeks after a report unveiled in Kisumu revealed that counties in the Western region were slowly turning into new hotspots for recruiting young people into terrorist groups.

The report classified the border town of Busia, Bungoma and Kakamega as terrorist breeding grounds in Western Kenya, where groups like Al-Shabaab are said to be radicalising young people.

The report, Emerging trends on counter violent extremism in Western Kenya 2021, was compiled from research by Dr Tom Mboya, a lecturer at Maseno University, between February 2020 and March 2021.

Launched by Champions of Peace and other organisations, it showed that terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab have changed tactics and are recruiting in new regions outside the traditional Coast, North Eastern and Nairobi areas.

Other low-key areas listed as recruitment hotspots were Siaya, Nakuru, Kisumu, Vihiga, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori and Nyamira, raising concerns among authorities.

It also cited poverty and unemployment as major drivers of youth recruitment into violent extremism.

About 19.8 per cent of people believe in having a better life rather than to continue living in abject poverty.

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