Calm restored in Kenya

All gunmen have been eliminated and the twenty-hour siege is over – Kenyatta
Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says all gunmen have been killed and the twenty-hour siege is over.

Fresh blasts were heard and gunshots fired in the early hours of Wednesday at Kenya’s upmarket hotel and office complex in Nairobi several hours after the situation was thought to have been under control. More people were evacuated Wednesday morning from the site of the terror attack.

Evacuees say people were holed up in places like toilets before the police came to their rescue. Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiang’i said late Tuesday, when the first set of explosions were recorded, that security teams have evacuated scores of Kenyans and other nationalities from the buildings after a nine-hour operation. 

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The Somalia-based extremist group Al-Shabaab has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We are now in the final stages of mopping up the area, securing evidence and documenting the consequences of this unfortunate event,” he told journalists. “I can now report that the country is now secure and that the nation remains calm, that Kenyans and all our visitors are now safe,” he added. 

 The DusitD2 complex, which houses several multi-national offices and a hotel, is located in the leafy Riverside area of Westlands, Nairobi. About four gunmen armed with rifles and grenades drove to the 14 Riverside Drive at around 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday and staged a deadly attack, leaving a trail of destruction. 

 “We have secured all the buildings that had been affected. The situation is under control and the country is safe. Terrorism will never defeat us. We will not surrender or bend,” Matiang’i said. He did not say how many people were killed or injured in the attack, but there were reports that 15 people were killed. 

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Joseph Boinnet, Inspector General of Police, said earlier that the terrorists began their onslaught by setting ablaze three vehicles at the I&M Bank parking lot before moving to the Dusit D2 complex. At the entrance of the hotel, Boinnet said the assailants carried out a suicide explosion, injuring several people. 

According to Boinnet, “the criminal activity commenced in a coordinated fashion that began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles in the parking lot at I&M Bank and suicide explosion in the foyer at Dusit hotel where a number of guests suffered severe injuries,”.

He said a multi-agency special security team had made progress to regain control of the hotel where the gunmen were holed up. 

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