Nairobi: Gunmen storm Kenyan a luxury hotel in deadly attack

Nairobi(ANN)- Gunfire and blasts were heard at the compound in the Westlands district of the Kenyan capital, which houses the DusitD2 hotel as well as offices.

The Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack but gave no details.

People – some with bullet wounds and covered in blood – were escorted out of the building by heavily armed police.

What is the latest?

The attack began at about 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT). The gunmen threw bombs at vehicles in the car park before entering the lobby, where one blew himself up, Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet told reporters.

A woman working in a neighbouring building told Reuters news agency: “I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives.”

Police then rushed to the scene. One officer told the BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi at the scene: “Things are not good. People are dying.”

Mr Boinnet later said most of main building had been secured, but police were still working to flush out any surviving gunmen.

The number of victims remains unclear. One photographer for Agence France-Presse reported five bodies slumped over tables on a restaurant terrace in the complex.

The five-star DusitD2 hotel has 101 rooms. Located in the Westlands suburb, minutes from the capital’s business district, it has its own spa and several restaurants.

Kenya has seen a number of terror attacks in recent years – most notably in areas close to the Somali border and in the country’s capital.

Striking close to home

By Joe Inwood, BBC News, Nairobi

Every person escaping the Dusit complex has the same story – heavily armed men firing indiscriminately, using bombs and automatic rifles to kill. Most were too shaken to talk. They were all relieved to have escaped.

They were coming out in small groups, many hours after the first explosions. The blasts could be heard across the city. I was in my flat round the corner when they happened, followed by the unmistakable sound of gunfire.

The pictures that have been coming from inside are truly horrific. Ordinary people going about their business, murdered as they had lunch or did their jobs.

This has a personal feel, too. The restaurant that seems to have taken the brunt of the explosions is a place I know well. It was full of lovely staff who would always greet you with a smile. As I sit watching the survivors escape, I wonder how many of them didn’t make it.

Who are al-Shabab?

They are a militant Islamist group that opposes the Somali government but has also carried out attacks throughout East Africa.

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

In September 2013, al-Shabab gunmen entered the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi and targeted shoppers.

During an 80-hour siege at the upscale centre, 67 people were killed.

Two years later, the group carried out its deadliest ever assault in Kenya, shooting dead almost 150 people at Garissa University.

Source: BBC