2014 Gikomba bombings

Last updated
2014 Gikomba explosions
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Coordinates 1°17′11.5″S36°50′29.9″E / 1.286528°S 36.841639°E / -1.286528; 36.841639
DateMay 16, 2014 (2014-05-16) (East Africa Time)
Attack type
Weapons Improvised explosive devices
Deathsat least 12 [1]
Non-fatal injuries
70 (but possibly as many as 76) [2]
Suspected perpetrators
ShababFlag.svg al-Shabaab [1]
2014 Gikomba bombings
OpenStreetMap view of attack location

On May 16, 2014, two improvised explosive devices were detonated simultaneously [3] in the Gikomba market in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 12 people and injuring 70. [4] [5] The first blast came from a minibus and the second from within the market. [1] Two people were reportedly arrested at the site of the explosions. [6] Shortly after the attacks, hundreds of people swarmed onto the crime scene despite police efforts to stop them. [1]

Nairobi Capital city in Nairobi County, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to "cool water", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city proper had a population of 3,138,369 in the 2009 census, while the metropolitan area has a population of 6,547,547. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun.

Kenya republic in East Africa

Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in Africa with 47 semiautonomous counties governed by elected governors. At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and also an inland port on Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.



Shortly before the blasts, 400 British holidaymakers had been evacuated from Mombasa, the country's second largest city, due to the British Foreign Office declaring an "unacceptably high" threat level. [4] The day before the blasts, the United States had also issued a similar warning, which stated: "The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including the Nairobi area and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani." [3] It had also said that their embassy in Kenya was going to increase its security in the week preceding the bombings. Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, dismissed these warnings, saying they "strengthen the will of terrorists" and that terrorism is a problem in many other countries as well. [7] In the week prior to the blasts, Kenya's government required all bus passengers to be screened before boarding buses and required all buses have clear glass windows. [8]

Mombasa City in Mombasa County, Kenya

Mombasa is a coastal city of Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It is the country's oldest and second-largest city, with an estimated population of about 1.5 million people in 2017. Its metropolitan region is the second largest in the country and has a population of approximately 3 million people. Administratively, Mombasa is the county seat of Mombasa County.

Uhuru Kenyatta President of Kenya

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is a Kenyan politician and businessman who is the fourth and current President of the Republic of Kenya. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gatundu South from 2002 to 2013. Currently the party leader and a member of the Jubilee Party of Kenya, he was previously involved with The National Alliance and before that the Kenya African National Union.


Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, reacted to the explosions by saying that "All of us around the world must be united to ensure that we are able to fight this particular terror." [6] Kenya's government, convinced that the perpetrators were Somalian terrorists, reacted to the attacks by rounding up thousands of immigrants, refugees and members of Kenya’s large Somali community. [9]

Flight cancellations

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to Mombasa Island off Kenya's coast. Thomson Airways and First Choice Airways cancelled all their flights to Mombasa until the end of October, citing the FCO's advice. [4]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), commonly called the Foreign Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide and was created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.

Mombasa Island island

Mombasa Island is a 5 by 3 km coral outcrop located on Kenya's coast on the Indian Ocean, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Part of the city of Mombasa is located on the island, including the Old Town.

First Choice Airways was a British charter airline of European tour operator TUI Travel PLC, based in Crawley, England until its merger with Thomsonfly to form Thomson Airways in 2008. It flew to more than 60 destinations worldwide from 14 UK and Irish airports. 70% of the airline's services were operated for its parent company, rising to 85% in the summer season, with the remainder on behalf of some 120 other tour operators. It also operated scheduled year-round leisure routes to Cyprus and the resorts of Spain and Portugal.

Economic impact

After the Gikomba explosions, which were the latest in a long line of attacks occurring in Kenya in recent months, the value of the Kenyan shilling decreased by 0.2% that day. [10]

Kenyan shilling currency

The shilling is the currency of Kenya. It is divided into 100 cents.

United States Embassy

The United States Department of State announced on the day of the bombings that it was planning on reducing the number of staff it would employ at its embassies in Kenya. [5]

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.


While no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Kenyatta stated that terrorists were responsible. [1] Suspicions have, in particular, fallen on Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, since they were responsible for several previous terrorist attacks in Kenya due to Kenya sending troops to Somalia in 2011. [1] Other evidence supporting their involvement includes that the Gikomba attack occurred only two miles from Al-Shabaab's so-called "Little Mogadishu" stronghold in Nairobi. [11]

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May 2010 Mogadishu bombings

The May 2010 Mogadishu bombings were an attack at a mosque near the Bakaara market in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on 1 May 2010. The bombs killed at least 39 people and injured around 70 others.

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The 2011 Mogadishu bombing occurred on 4 October 2011, when a suicide bomber drove a truck into the gate of the Transitional Federal Government's ministerial complex in Mogadishu, Somalia. The resulting explosion killed 100 people and injured over 110 others. Al-Shabaab, an Islamist group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack is reported to be the largest since Al-Shabaab launched an insurgency in Somalia in early 2007. It also follows the withdrawal of Al-Shabaab's forces from the area in August after an AMISOM intervention to bring aid to the country during a season of drought.

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Since late 2011, Kenya has seen an upsurge in violent terrorist attacks. Kenyan government officials asserted that many of the murders and blasts were carried out by Al-Shabaab in retaliation for Operation Linda Nchi, a coordinated military mission between the Somalian military and Kenyan military that began in October 2011, when troops from Kenya crossed the border into the conflict zones of southern Somalia. According to Kenyan security experts, the bulk of the attacks were increasingly carried out by radicalized Kenyan youth who were hired for the purpose. Kenya security officials also indicated that they were part of death squads, which carried out many of the killings under the orders of a government security council. By mid-2014, the cumulative attacks began affecting Kenya's tourism industry, as Western nations issued travel warnings to their citizens.

Kenya has been the scene of various attacks attributed to terrorist elements. In 1980, the Jewish-owned Norfolk hotel was attacked by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1998, the US embassy in Nairobi was bombed, as was the Israeli-owned Paradise hotel in 2002. In 2013, the militant group Al-Shabaab killed 67 people at Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall. There have been numerous other lesser attacks.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Nairobi explosions: At least 12 killed, more than 70 wounded in attacks on bus, market". Abc.net.au . 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  2. Ansari, Azadeh (16 May 2014). "Explosions in Kenya leave at least 10 dead, officials say". CNN . Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. 1 2 Dixon, Robyn (16 May 2014). "Ten dead, dozens wounded in Kenya attack as British tourists flee". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Halliday, Josh (16 May 2014). "Nairobi rocked by two deadly explosions". The Guardian . Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  5. 1 2 Gridneff & Doya (17 May 2014). "U.S. Reducing Embassy Staff After Nairobi Bombings Leave 12 Dead". Businessweek . Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Kenya's Nairobi hit by twin bomb blasts in Gikomba market". BBC News . 16 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  7. AP (16 May 2014). "Bombs kills 10, wound 70 in Kenya after new US, UK terror warnings prompt tourist exodus". US News . Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  8. Moore, Jack (16 May 2014). "Kenya: 10 Killed by Twin Nairobi Gikomba Market Blasts". International Business Times UK . Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  9. Kushkush, Ismail (16 May 2014). "Explosions Kill 10 in Kenya as Western Embassies Warn of Threats". New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  10. Gridneff & Doya (16 May 2014). "Kenya Police Hunt Bombers After Nairobi Explosions Leave 10 Dead". Bloomberg News . Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  11. Moore, Jack (16 May 2014). "Nairobi Gikomba Market Blasts were Close to Al-Shabaab 'Little Mogadishu' Stronghold". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 18 May 2014.