Kenyan hotel siege ends; claims 14 lives

Kenyan hotel siege ends; claims 14 lives
Kenyan armed forces and civilian people take cover after an attack on a hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday. (AP)
Nairobi, Jan 16 (IANS) | Publish Date: 1/16/2019 12:34:49 PM IST

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said a deadly attack by terrorists on an upscale hotel and office complex in the capital that left at least 14 civilians dead was over and all the attackers had been “eliminated”.

Somali-based Al-Shabab terrorists struck the DusitD2 hotel compound, an upmarket cluster of shops and several offices in Nairobi’s affluent Westlands neighbourhood on Tuesday afternoon. More than 700 hotel guests and office workers were evacuated, Kenyatta said in a televised address.

“We can confirm that 14 innocent lives were lost at the hands of these murderous terrorists, with others injured,” Kenyatta said.

“My heart is with every innocent man and woman shaken by this senseless violence.”

Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet said the coordinated assault began at 3 p.m (local time) on Tuesday with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank, followed by a suicide blast in the foyer of the Dusit hotel, CNN reported.

An unknown number of gunmen then burst through the complex, leading to a standoff that continued through the night, with people trapped in various parts of the buildings.

But sporadic gunfire and explosions continued till early Wednesday even after all was clear. Officials said that the evacuation was still ongoing in the morning.

Kenyatta said that he had met the National Security Council and was assured that anyone involved in planning, financing and executing the act would be brought to justice.

The US State Department said that among the dead was American citizen Jason Spindler, the CEO of a consulting firm which has its Africa headquarters in the complex that was attacked. 

“Jason Spindler was one of those rare men who was loved by pretty much anyone he touched in Kenya and around the world... He chose a life of hope and inclusion. I am grateful to have known and learned from him,” one of his friends wrote in Twitter.

A British citizen was also feared dead.

Kenya is part of a regional peacekeeping operation that supports the Somali government in its battle against Al-Shabab.

In 2013, the group targeted the luxury shopping centre of Westgate, killing 67 people in a siege that lasted several days. Two years later, the group carried out its deadliest-ever assault in Kenya, shooting dead almost 150 people at Garissa University.

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