GARISSA, Kenya (Reuters) – Kenyan police said on Thursday they had seized explosive equipment in a refugee camp near the Somali border, calling it a major breakthrough in their investigation into attacks blamed on rebels linked to al Qaeda.
Officers found primers used to ignite explosives in a house in Ifo refugee camp, regional police commander Leo Nyongesa told Reuters.
They also arrested two Somali women living nearby, suspecting they might know who stored the equipment there, he said.
“We have a breakthrough. Nine primers that are used to ignite hand grenades or explosives were recovered in today’s operation,” Nyongesa said.
At least 30 people including several policemen have been killed in the attacks in Wajir, Mandera and Garissa districts.
Kenya’s North Eastern province that borders the conflict-torn Somalia has suffered a wave of attacks with grenades and makeshift bombs. The violence increased in October when Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to battle Islamist al Shabaab rebels.
Somalia has been mired in anarchy since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
Ethiopia has also sent troops into Somalia to tackle al Shabaab, which opposes the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.
Nyongesa said a man that police wanted to arrest in connection with the devices had fled.
Inside Somalia, airstrikes by an unidentified airforce hit Kudhaa village, about 180 km (112 miles) from the southern port of Kismayu, killing one person and injured seven others, residents and medics said.
“Al Shabaab are firing their weapons and tension is very high,” said Mohamed Abdi Rage, a resident of the village, who added that the bombs landed on a camp for charcoal traders in the village.
Wehliye Adow, a nurse in the village told Reuters the wounded were in a critical condition.