Residents and workers were left in a state of shock on Tuesday afternoon at the Dusit D2 Hotel on Riverside drive as a result of an explosion and the sound of gunfire in the area. At least 15 people have been confirmed dead. Kenya National Police Chief Joseph Boinnet stated that the attack started with a suicide bomber detonating an explosion in the Dusit Hotel lobby and then followed by gunmen with Ak-47s attacking people fleeing for their safety. Al-Shabab, an extremist military group based in Somalia with affiliation to Al-Qaeda soon claimed responsibility through their social media handles. The area was a popular shopping and leisure location for both locals and international personnel hosting cafes, shops, offices and a few multi-national companies such as Shell.
The attack occurs just 5 years after a similar attack on the Westgate Mall which is just barely a mile from the current attack and claimed the lives of 67 people. Kenya has received a flurry of attacks from the Al-Shabab military group in recent years, most believe is in response to Kenya’s military input in Somalia where it sent thousands of troops to help in the African Union Mission to stabilize the country in October 2011. The most recent attack from the group came in April 2015 in Eastern Kenya at Garissa University where militants stormed the University living quarters and separated residents according to religion and executed non-Muslims, 150 people were reportedly killed.
Nairobi is said to be the economic hub of East Africa with close ties to Western countries like America and United Kingdom hosting numerous tourists and expatriates which seems to make it a prime target for the extremist group. Following the attacks, the country’s security protocols were reportedly tightened especially in public and popular areas in the country which has raised questions among the public at how it was possible for extremists to gain entry into such an area with weapons intent on causing harm.