Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Kenya court orders 6 suspects held over Nairobi hotel attack

The off-duty SAS soldier ran back into the hotel compound several times to rescue more trapped civilians The off-duty SAS soldier ran back into the hotel compound several times to rescue more trapped civilians Credit Reuters
Pablo Mccormick | 20 January, 2019, 19:16

Undoubtedly, Kenya's security forces have emerged as the heroes in the wake of the terrorist attack on the upmarket Dusit Luxury Hotel and Business Complex on 14 Riverside Drive Westlands, Nairobi on January 15, 2018.

The Private Security Regulatory Authority made the announcement on Friday, three days after attackers laid siege to the dusitD2 hotel, shopping and office complex.

That has proved a daunting task, and Mr. Kenyatta provided scant details for achieving it beyond saying Kenya would invest more resources in strengthening its security and justice systems. However, authorities now believe he may be among those detained, the official said.

According to the police, 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack.

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But police, private security sources and local media reports have highlighted the involvement of a 26-year-old suspect identified in court documents as Ali Salim Gichunge, who was born and raised in central Kenya, as evidence of the group's lure to some people outside its traditional strongholds.

All five attackers died.

An officer who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly also told Reuters police were pursuing a woman suspected of ferrying weapons to Nairobi from Kiunga, near the border with Somalia, via the port city of Mombasa.

A hotel employee, seen in the video footage walking past Riziki just before the explosion, described in an interview with Kenya's K24 television how he heard the man talking on a mobile phone.

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Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa Project Director at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said the group has been actively recruiting in the region.

Kenya, the East African hub for multinational companies and the United Nations, became a frequent target for al Shabaab after Kenya sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in 2011 to try to create a buffer zone along its border.

It also refocused attention on the Somalia-based, al-Qaeda-linked group that's thought to have been behind more than 150 attacks in Kenya since 2011 and killed 147 at a northeastern university in 2015 but had recently seemed in retreat even as it plagued Somalis at home.

Within hours of the attack, the forces had stormed the scene and overpowered the assailants, evacuated over 700 workers and guests trapped in the Complex and facilitated the transfer of the injured to hospitals, thus reducing a planned massacre to 21 deaths.

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