Nairobi attack ends after 20-hour siege

Source:AFP Published: 2019/1/16 20:03:41

At least 14 dead, all terrorists ‘eliminated’ in hotel complex assault


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wednesday that Islamists who stormed an upmarket hotel complex in Nairobi, killing 14 people, had been "eliminated" after an almost 20-hour siege in which hundreds of civilians were rescued.

At least one suicide bomber blew himself up and gunmen engaged security forces in numerous shootouts during the assault on the DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel, spa, restaurant and office buildings.

The attack was claimed by the Al Qaeda-linked Somali group Al-Shabaab, which has repeatedly targeted Kenya since it sent its army into Somalia in October 2011 to fight the jihadist group.

The sight of armed Islamists and terrified civilians fleeing reminded Kenyans of a 2013 Shabaab attack on the Westgate mall left 67 dead in a siege that stretched out over four days and led to sharp criticism of the security response.

In a televised address, Kenyatta said some 700 civilians had been evacuated throughout the attack at DusitD2, with the swift and effective work from security forces drawing widespread praise in local media. "I can confirm that... the security operation at Dusit complex is over and all the terrorists eliminated," Kenyatta said in a televised address.

"As of this moment, we have confirmation that 14 innocent lives were lost to the... terrorists, with others injured."

Police sources and a mortuary official had previously reported 15 dead.

It was not immediately clear how many attackers there were in total.

CCTV footage broadcast on local media showed four black-clad, heavily armed men entering the complex on Tuesday afternoon. At least one of them blew himself up at the start of the attack.

A police source said two attackers had been shot dead Wednesday morning ­after a prolonged shootout.

The attack began at about 3 pm on Tuesday, with a loud blast followed by gunfire and rapid calls for help spreading on Twitter.

Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet said the attack began with an explosion targeting three cars in the parking lot and a suicide bombing in the foyer of the Dusit hotel.

Among the dead was an American citizen, a State Department official said. 

A mortuary official said there were also 11 Kenyan victims, a British victim, one with no papers as well as an unidentified torso of a male adult.



Posted in: AFRICA

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