Gunmen blasted their way into a hotel and office complex yesterday in Nairobi, killing at least seven persons and sending workers diving under desks from an attack claimed by Somali Islamists al Shabaab.
The attack comes on the third anniversary to the date of when dozens of Kenyan soldiers at an African Union base in the southwestern Somali town of El Adde were killed while others reportedly ran away into the bush.
Also in 2013, gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping mall tossing hand grenades and spraying shoppers with bullets leading to the death of over 67 people, while another 150 students were killed at the Garissa University College in Kenya’s northeast region in 2015.
But Al Shabaab says its attacks are revenge for Kenyan troops stationed inside Somalia, which has been riven by civil war since 1991.
Kenyan police chief, Joseph Boinnet, said the attack began with an explosion targeting cars followed by a detonation from a suicide bomber.
“The main door of the hotel was blown open and there was a human arm in the street severed from the shoulder,” said Serge Medic, the Swiss owner of a security company who ran to the scene to help when he heard of the attack from his taxi driver.
Medic, who was armed, entered the building with a policeman and two soldiers, he said, but they came under fire and retreated. An unexploded grenade lay in the lobby, he said.
“One man said he saw two armed men with scarves on their head and bandoliers of bullets,” Medic told Reuters, as gunfire echoed in the
Al Shabaab, which wants to overthrow the weak, U.N.-backed Somali government and impose strict Islamic law, quickly said it was responsible.
“We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations
spokesman, told Reuters by telephone in Somalia.
According to its website, 14 Riverside is home to local offices of international companies including Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Pernod Ricard, Dow Chemical and SAP, as well as the dusitD2 hotel, part of Thai group Dusit Thani.