Kenyans recall Dusit terror attack one year later

Survivors suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, changed daily routines

Andrew Wasike   | 15.01.2020
Kenyans recall Dusit terror attack one year later FILE PHOTO


Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia carried out a terror attack on the Dusit D2 Hotel in the Kenyan capital Jan, 15, 2019, that killed more than 20 people.   

Sixteen Kenyans, one American, a South African, a Briton, and 3 unidentified persons were killed.

The al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists planned the attack to coincide with the El Adde military base attack Jan 15, 2016, where more than 140 Kenyan soldiers were killed while others were captured.

A year after the Dusit attack, Purity Mumbi, 35, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and she told Anadolu Agency she lives in fear.

“I can never set foot in that place again,” she said. “It brings back terrible memories. When I sleep I hear loud bangs, explosions and gunfire. I see bright lights. It was by God’s grace that I came out alive that day. I lost four colleagues. 

"My whole life flashed before my eyes. At one time when we almost ran in onto the attackers’ line of view we backtracked and ran in the other direction," Mumbi said recalling how she saw one of the attackers ahead of her firing his gun at people.  

Others who survived the ordeal have similar harrowing stories.

Paul Mwangi had a meeting with a colleague at one of the eateries and said his life changed completely.

“I found religion, I realized how short life is. I am always aware of my surroundings and before I sleep in any hotel I have to know where all emergency entrances and exits are. These are things I never cared about, also I tend to stay away from windows. It was next to the garden windows that the suicide bomber blew himself up. I feel safe where there are walls,” he said.

Many like Mumbi and Mwangi have yet to fight off the trauma that came from that day.

Walking through the refurbished building on the present-day site, business is as usual. People are in offices, busy working. The hotel is booked with guests and the restaurants are buzzing.

The premises is under 24-hour surveillance with heightened security.

On commemorating the day, the U.S. vowed to continue assisting Kenya fighting terrorism.

“Al-Shabaab’s ongoing efforts to destabilize democratic, open societies represent a destructive threat in Kenya and East Africa. The United States and Kenya are training, sharing information, and fighting side by side to defeat this terrorist organization. We remain fully committed to the fight against terrorism and are proud to partner with Kenya to defeat Al-Shabaab,” the U.S. said in a statement.

Kenya is on high alert following recent frequent al-Shabaab attacks.

Earlier this month, terrorists killed three teachers in Garissa and separately killed three Americans at a military base shared by Kenyan and American forces.

In 2015, the militants killed more than 148 people in an attack on a university in the east of the country. Most of the victims were students.

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