Africa

Kenya: Thousands of Muslims commemorate terror victims

Al-Shabaab militants blew up a vehicle outside hotel compound, stormed complex using guns, explosives in Tuesday's attack

18.01.2019
Kenya: Thousands of Muslims commemorate terror victims File Photo

By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya

Thousands of Muslims took to the streets on Friday to show solidarity with the victims of a deadly terror attack on a Nairobi hotel compound Tuesday that killed at least 21 people.

Locals closed their businesses in capital's Eastleigh suburb -- dubbed Little Mogadishu -- to join politicians and residents in a march to commemorate victims of the attack on the DusitD2 hotel compound, claimed by al-Shabaab militants, and to condemn terrorism and shun divisive ideology.

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

Al-Shabaab militants first blew up their vehicle outside the compound and then stormed the complex using guns and explosives.

Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb has been labeled by authorities in Kenya as the main recruiting ground of youth into al-Shabaab.

Barkhado Amina, a shop owner in the heart of Eastleigh, said that Muslims in Eastleigh are always victimized and targeted by police whenever a terror attack occurred.

"We are Kenyans, we are not terrorists, two Muslims were killed at Riverside terror attack, we are also crying, if they were fighting for Muslims, they would not kill us, al-Shabaab does not have any religion, they are animals," she said.

"Today we are out donating blood to those who need it, we are mourning so no businesses will be opened, we are saying sorry to those who were injured and condemning al-Shabaab, we support Kenya’s fight against them."

Eastleigh area MP Yusuf Hassan, who previously survived an assassination attempt by al-Shabaab militants, was on the forefront leading the masses in Friday's march.

In 2013, he was injured when terrorists hurled a grenade at him as he left a mosque. Five people were killed in that attack.

"We are here as a community in solidarity with all the people of Kenya who have been affected by the terror attack and to remember the victims of the Riverside attack, we are here to say no to terrorism, no to radicalization no to al-Shabaab."

Son of senior military official

One of the attackers who was killed by Kenyan police at the hotel compound has been identified as a son of a senior Kenyan military officer.

Ali Salim Gichunge, a.k.a Farouk, is suspected to have crossed into Somalia sometime in 2015, sources close to the investigation said.

His father Abdala Salim and mother Sakina Mariam were summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to assist with the probe.

Shocked residents from his hometown in Isiolo County have described him as a bright, energetic, charismatic and God-fearing person who was never in trouble with the people or the law.

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