NAIROBI, KENYA — Kenyan officials say they have arrested more than 650 people in an ethnic Somali part of Nairobi, following explosions Monday that left six people dead and more than 20 injured.
In a statement, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said a thorough security operation has been launched aimed at arresting the perpetrators of the Monday attack.
Ole Lenku termed the attack against civilians barbaric and an act of cowardice against innocent and peace-loving Kenyans.
Late Monday, Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui assured Kenyans they are safe, and he said the attackers will be found.
“We are here to ensure that you and me are secure, so there is no need to panic. The government is on top of issues investigating all this and terrorism. But whoever is doing this or whoever is collaborating with whatever is going on, we will nab him,” said Kibui.
The bombings occurred near a food kiosk and a women's health clinic in Eastleigh, a part of Nairobi where tens of thousands of Somali immigrants live.
For more than three hours, police carried out door-to-door searches of nearby residential buildings, looking for sympathizers of Somali militant group al-Shabab.
Police demanded everyone produce identification cards and searched people's rooms.
Most of those arrested were Somali refugees who are required to have alien cards issued by the Kenyan government.
Kenyan officials have ordered Somali refugees living in urban areas to return to designated camps, following a wave of terror attacks and threats in the country attributed to al-Shabab.
Last year, Kenya's high court rejected one such attempt, saying the order threatened the “rights and fundamental freedoms” of those living in urban areas.
Meanwhile, Kenyatta National Hospital chief Lily Koros said some attack survivors are undergoing treatment.
“Twelve patients were treated and discharged yesterday evening. Nine of the patients are admitted having sustained multiple soft tissue injuries and fractures. One patient is still receiving treatment at accident and emergency,” she said.
The country’s security officials have warned there will be more arrests until those behind Monday's attacks are found.