Kenyan president says Nairobi attack over as 'terrorists' killed
NAIROBI – Agence France-Presse
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Jan. 16 that gunmen who stormed an upmarket hotel complex, killing 14 people, had been "eliminated" after an almost 20-hour siege in which hundreds of civilians were rescued.
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.
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.
Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet said on Jan. 16 that five attackers had launched the assault and all were now dead.
"There were five terrorists and all of them are no more," he told AFP.
"It is a clearing exercise now going on there."
A senior police source said they included a suicide bomber, two killed on Jan. 15 night and another two killed by security forces on Jan. 16 morning.
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 to the nation.
"As of this moment, we have confirmation that 14 innocent lives were lost to the... terrorists, with others injured."
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.