The terrorist group, Al Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s deadly attack on a hotel and an office complex in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
According to a statement issued by the terrorist group whose origins emanate from Somalia, its snipers successfully “stormed the target building”, the DusitD2 Hotel, and are carrying out their mission.
“Al-Shabaab mujahideen snipers are in operation in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Our intelligence confirms that mujahideen fighters stormed the target building”, the al-Shabaab statement read.
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Several reports noted that a loud explosion followed by gunfire was heard at the targeted building, situated in the upscale Riverside district of the country’s capital, at around 3 pm local time (1 pm Nigerian time).
According to the Guardian UK, eyewitnesses said about four to six men rushed into the hotel, and were fully armed.
Footage on Kenya’s Citizen TV channel showed people streaming out of the complex, escorted by armed officers, as the sound of gunfire rang out. Cars in the complex could be seen aflame as a helicopter flew overhead.
Several wounded people were also removed from the premises and smoke plumed from a building inside the complex, Quartz Africa reports.
Police officials have said that “armed criminals are still holed up in the building and that special forces are currently flushing them out.”
The DuistD2 compound comprises a hotel, restaurants, a spa and several office buildings housing international companies.
The AFP, whose Nairobi bureau is just about five kilometres from the scene, had reported that bombs reportedly exploded.
“There was a bomb, there is a lot of gunfire,” whispered a man working in the offices in the Dusit Hotel compound, asking the news agency not to be named.
Tuesday’s attack occurs exactly three years after the same terrorist group attacked a Kenyan military base in El-Adde in Somalia, where about 140 Kenyan soldiers were killed.
The DuistD2 is also reminiscent of the deadly attack on Westgate Mall, also in Nairobi, in 2013, which left at least 67 people dead.
Al Shabaab has increased its attack on its neighbour, Kenya, in recent years, following the country’s deployment of troops to Somalia to flush out the terrorist group and provide security.
The terrorist group, however, remains opposed to the involvement of the Kenyan military.
The operation by the Kenyan police against the terrorist group was still ongoing at the time of filing this report.