NAIROBI (Reuters) - Two Kenyans were charged on Wednesday with being members of the Somalia-based rebel group al-Shabaab, and police linked one of them to an explosion near a Kampala-bound bus in the capital Nairobi earlier this week.
Police said the Russian-made grenade in a plastic bag that exploded on Monday was being carried by Tanzanian Albert Molanda, who was killed by the blast. Police said he planned to transport the device to the Ugandan capital Kampala.
A notebook found on Molanda's body had the phone number of one of those charged on Wednesday, Aboud Rogo Mohammed -- who was acquitted in 2005 of involvement in the 2002 bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa which killed 15 people.Mohammed and his co-accused, Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, pleaded not guilty in the High Court in Nairobi to charges of being members of al Shabaab, and were remanded in custody pending a ruling on their bail plea.
No one has claimed responsibility for the Nairobi blast, but Kenyan police chief Mathew Iteere said the attacker could have been inspired by al Shabaab.
Kenyan and Ugandan police said there was a link between Monday's blast and intelligence reports that there was a risk of further attacks by al Shabaab, which has links with al Qaeda.
The suspects are believed to be trained militants who pose a security threat to Kenya, police said in an affidavit.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in Kampala on July 11, which killed 79 people watching the World Cup final on television.
The attack, the group's first attack outside Somalia, heightened concern it might be able to carry out more attacks in the region and beyond.
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