An upscale hotel complex in Kenya’s capital is under attack as witnesses reported an explosion and heavy gunfire.
Witnesses and police at the scene are calling it a terror attack.
The complex in Nairobi’s Westlands neighbourhood includes a large hotel known as DusitD2, banks and offices.
Several vehicles have burned and people are being rushed or carried from the scene.
We wish to confirm that there has been an attack incident along 14 Riverside Drive. The area has since been cordoned off.— Kenya Police Service (@PoliceKE) January 15, 2019
Motorists are advised to use alternative routes to facilitate smooth operations of the Police.
More information to follow.
“It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible. I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over,” said one man who said he ran from the scene, Charles Njenga.
“I have been hiding. My colleagues were running everywhere,” said another man. He said he hid in an office. “I didn’t see an attacker. It was a terrorist attack. I think so.”
Gunfire continued several minutes after the first reports. Black smoke rose from the scene.
“We have sent officers to the scene, including from the anti-terrorism unit, but so far we have no more information,” police spokesman Charles Owino said.
Groups of people were hurried away as plainclothes officers went shop to shop in the complex.
What appeared to be plainclothes security forces inched their way towards the scene with guns. Helicopters could be heard. Other people appeared to be taking cover behind fountains and other features in the lush outdoor complex.
The attack immediately reminded many Kenyans of the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in 2013, when al-Shabab extremists burst into the luxury shopping centre, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead.
The attack came three years to the day after al-Shabab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in neighboring Somalia, killing scores of people. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab objects to the presence of Kenyan troops in the turbulent Horn of Africa nation.