Saturday 16 February 2019

Death toll in Kenya hotel siege soars to 21

An injured service member is evacuated from the attack scene. Photo: Getty Images
An injured service member is evacuated from the attack scene. Photo: Getty Images

Christopher Torchia

The death toll from an extremist attack on a luxury hotel and shopping complex in Nairobi climbed to 21, plus the five Islamist militants killed, Kenyan police said last night.

The number of those killed at the DusitD2 complex rose with the discovery of six more bodies at the scene and the death of a wounded police officer. Twenty-eight people were hurt and taken to the hospital.

In a televised address to the nation earlier in the day, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the all-night operation by security forces to retake the complex was over and that all of the extremists had been killed.

"We will seek out every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act," he vowed.

The attack was claimed by the al-Qa'ida-linked Somali group al-Shabaab.

The extremists stormed the place with guns and explosives. Security camera footage showed a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a grassy area in the complex.

Of the civilian victims, 16 were Kenyan, one was British, one was American and three were of African descent but their nationalities were not yet identified.

Al-Shabab also carried out the 2013 attack at Nairobi's nearby Westgate Mall that killed 67 people, and an assault on Kenya's Garissa University in 2015 that claimed 147 lives, mostly students.

While US airstrikes and African Union forces have degraded the group's ability to operate out of nearby Somalia, it is still capable of carrying out spectacular acts of violence in retaliation for the Kenyan campaign against it.

Irish Independent

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