An attack carried out by Al-Shabaab militants has claimed the lives of at least 21 people in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The attack took place on 15 January and lasted until the morning of the following day. Armed militants targeted the DusitD2 hotel and business complex resulting in the evacuation of over 700 people.
The attack began at 15:00 local time when armed gunmen threw bombs at a car park, followed by an attack from a suicide bomber in the hotel’s foyer. At least four armed gunmen entered the hotel and opened fire on those inside.
A joint rescue effort was carried out by Kenyan security services, US Navy Seals and an unnamed SAS soldier.
President Uhuru Kenyatta told reporters, ‘The security operation at the Dusit complex is over and all the terrorists eliminated’ whilst urging Kenyans to ‘to go back to work without fear’. It is believed that the attackers were killed by security forces during the hotel siege.
British charity worker, Luke Potter, who worked for Gatsby Africa, was among the 21 victims. US businessman, Jason Spindler, a survivor of the 9/11 attacks, was also a victim. Kenya’s Red Cross has stated that the 19 people who were missing have now been accounted for. It is believed that 28 people have been admitted to hospital and militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Al-Shabaab is a Jihadist militant group based in East Africa, with a declared allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012. In 2013, a mass shooting was carried out by four Al-Shabaab gunmen in Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi killing 71 people, including the four attackers. Another attack took place in 2015 at Garissa University College, in which 152 people were killed including the four gunmen. Kenya has been targeted by Al-Shabaab since October 2011 after sending its troops into Somalia to fight the group.
Al-Shabaab is believed to have released a statement calling the latest attack ‘a response’ to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; a decision that faced wide international criticism.
Following the attack, the United Nations have condemned the act and said that they stand in solidarity with the Kenyan people. In a televised address, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that ‘every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act’ would be ‘relentlessly pursued’. Seven arrests have since been made in relation to the attack.