Al-Shabab claims responsibility for Nairobi hotel attack

 

An explosion and gunfire broke out at a hotel complex in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, on Tuesday afternoon, in what police believe could be a terror attack.

Witnesses say the incident began shortly before 3pm East Africa time at the complex that hosts the Dusit D2 Hotel in Nairobi’s Westlands area.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett has called for calm as police work to contain the situation, at the same time appealing for any information that might be useful to the investigation.

“We regret to confirm that at around 3pm today, a group of armed assailants attacked the Dusit complex in a suspected terror attack… the situation is being managed and residents are being screened and evacuated from the area,” he said, while reading a statement at the venue.

“We are aware that armed criminals are holding up at the hotel and specialist forces are trying to flush them out,” he stated, adding that they are working to confirm the number of injuries and casualties if any.

Gunfire continued several minutes after the first reports as ambulances, security forces and firefighters rushed to the scene. Black smoke rose from the complex. A bomb disposal unit arrived, and vehicles were cordoned off for fear they contained explosives.

It isn’t clear how many attackers took part.

Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab has already claimed responsibility.

A woman rescued from the scene of Tuesday’s attack in Nairobi rushes to the arms of a concerned loved one.
Courtesy: Oliver Jarvis

Four injured persons have been admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest referral hospital.

 


CGTN’s Jane Kiyo said the first responders to the scene were from the Australian High Commission, which stands just a few hundred metres away from the venue. They were later joined by the Recce Squad, a specialised anti-terror police force.

Officers from the bomb squad and sniffer dogs are combing the building complex, and army officers have cordoned off the area.

Tuesday’s attack occurred exactly three years after the deadly El Adde attack in Somalia. In that incident, al-Shabab militants stormed a Kenyan-ran AMISOM army base in El Adde, Somalia. Close to 200 Kenyan soldiers were killed.

The complex, which also houses several office buildings is not far from the Westgate Shopping Mall, where more than 71 people died after four armed gunmen took siege in 2013.  Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack as well. On Monday a magistrate judge in Kenya ruled three of the suspects arrested and charged in the attack must face trial. One other person was released.