One killed in grenade blast in Kenyan coastal city

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Gunmen detonated grenades outside a night club in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding several others in the latest attack since Kenya sent troops into Somalia to crush Islamist militants.

Nairobi has said al Shabaab militants, who merged with al Qaeda earlier this year, are behind a surge in violence and kidnappings threatening tourism in east Africa's biggest economy.

Police said the target of the attack was Bella Vista sports bar in a street known for its nightlife in Mombasa, a popular holiday destination for Kenyans and foreigners.

A pool of blood marked the entrance to the club, and spent cartridges and grenade shells were strewn near its gate. Some cars nearby were riddled with shrapnel marks.

Police said the attackers tried to force their way into the club, but were barred at the gate by guards. They then shot at random and hurled the explosive devices.

Two of the guards were among those injured, and police said one of them, a woman, died of her wounds in hospital.

The Kenya Red Cross said on its Twitter feed that the woman had died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Police could not immediately confirm the cause of death.

"There is one dead and five others injured. We believe the dead person, a lady, was one of the guards at the gate," Ambrose Munyasia, the region's top criminal investigation officer who was at the scene told Reuters.

"From the evidence so far, we believe there were three grenade explosions."

He could not say who was behind the attack and no group immediately claimed responsibility.

Police recovered a pistol at the scene believed to have been dropped by the attackers, Munyasia said.

More than 10 people have been killed in a series of attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa since Kenyan troops launched their incursion into southern Somalia.

Earlier on Tuesday, a suspected remote-controlled bomb went off in Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex near the Somali border, killing a police officer and wounding three.

The country is already forecasting earnings from tourism - one of its big three hard currency sources - will fall this year, in part because of travel warnings over the threat from Somali militants.

(Reporting by James Machariap; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Updated Date: May 16, 2012 06:57 AM

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