Africa

Death toll from Kenya hotel attack rises to 21

Two key suspects believed to have facilitated the attack have been arrested and are assisting police with the investigation

Andrew Wasike   | 17.01.2019
Death toll from Kenya hotel attack rises to 21

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI

The death toll from a terrorist attack on a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has risen to 21, the country’s top law enforcement official said late Wednesday.

"Six other bodies were found at the scene. One police officer succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment," said Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett.

"Five terrorists were eliminated, and subsequent investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have yielded the arrest of two key suspects believed to have facilitated the attack, and they are in custody assisting police with the investigation,” Boinett added.

The dead comprised 16 Kenyan nationals, one Briton, one American and three individuals of African descent who are yet to be identified.

Al-Shabaab militants on Tuesday attacked the upscale Dusit hotel complex, blowing up their vehicle outside.

They then stormed the complex using guns and explosives. 

Security officers responded quickly, safely evacuating more than 700 people from the hotel.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced earlier Wednesday that the attackers had been neutralized.

"I can now confirm that the security operation at the Dusit complex is over and all the terrorists have been eliminated," he said, speaking on national television.

He said action would be taken against the Somalia-based al-Shabaab militant group, vowing that Kenya will not change its stance in the war against terrorism

"We will seek out every single person who was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act. We will pursue them relentlessly wherever they may be until they are held to account."

Al-Shabaab later issued a statement saying the attack was in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, claiming that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had instructed them to storm the complex, AFP reported, citing the SITE monitoring group.

U.S. citizen Jason Spindler, a survivor of the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda attack in New York, was among the casualties of the hotel attack, police later confirmed.

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