PHOTOS: AP, Reuters
At least one person is dead and many are injured after two grenade explosions in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday. The terrorist attacks at a bar and a bus stop followed warnings by Somalia's al-Qaeda-backed militant group al-Shabaab.
Denis Nzioka, editor of Kenya’s new LGBTI and sex workers magazine, Identity, explained that though not exactly a well known gay hangout like other bars in and around Nairobi, Mwaura’s was popular with male sex workers and men who have sex with men who liked the bar for its "cheap keg beer and mutura (an African blood sausage)."
Nzioka said, "Like any keg joint there were older men there looking for a shag from the younger ones. Most of the old patrons were mostly married, living in rural areas or were unemployed. There was also a noticeable presence of mid-level income earners especially from nearby offices, as well as students."
He added, "So far, no one I know from [the MSM or male sex worker community] has been hurt; however, I would confidently say that of the [people injured], there must have been some MSMs in there. There were some female sex workers who were hurt too.:
Nzioka however pointed out that due to differences with the management in 2010, many regulars from the MSM and male sex worker communities had stopped frequenting the bar for a time until recently when the management realised banning the queer element from the bar had had a negative impact on the profits and so had begun welcoming the community back.
At least 12 people were injured in the blast at the bar, three of them seriously, reports the Nairobi Star. The second blast at a downtown Nairobi bus stop killed one person and injured at least 15, reports Capitol FM.
Kenya's government is considered moderate on gay rights. They were the first African nation to include gay and bisexual men in their national HIV strategy. Two pro-LGBT justices were confirmed to the Supreme Court in June.
But there has been a backlash against calls to decriminalize homosexuality in the East African nation, such as one cabinet minister's proposal to scrap the nation's sodomy laws. Last November, Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for the mass arrests of gays at a political rally but later retracted his statements.
Some Background ...
KENYA: Pro-LGBT Justices Confirmed
Controversy in Kenya After Pro LGBT Nominees
Kenyan Prime Minister: "All Gays Should Be Arrested"
KENYA: Questions Surround Mandatory HIV Testing
AIDS 2010: Joel Nana on African Gay/Bi Men, HIV
WATCH: CNN Surveys Gay Rights in SA, Kenya, Cuba
Kenyan Gays Demand Protection After Brutal Assault
Kenya: "Things are Changing in Favor of Gays"
Homosexuality is Un-African?