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Al Shabaab gunmen kill seven at luxury hotel in Kenya

By Sheetal Sukhija, Raleigh News.Net
16 Jan 2019, 08:57 GMT+10

NAIROBI, Kenya - The Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group, Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for an attack at a luxury hotel complex in Kenya, which ended with the death of seven people. 

On Tuesday, gunmen are said to have launched an attack on the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi, opening fire at people at random, killing seven people and leaving eight others injured.

According to the police in Nairobi, gunmen barged into the hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital, setting off explosions and attacking people.

The attack reportedly began at about 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT), when the local police responded to reports of gunfire and blasts being heard at the compound in Nairobi's Westlands district.

Speaking to reporters after the attack, the Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet said that the gunmen made their way into the complex and were headed towards the hotel.

He added that before reaching the lobby of the building, the gunmen hurled bombs at vehicles in the car parking - which set off explosions.

Boinnet said that after the group of gunmen entered the lobby of the building, one of them blew himself up.

Hours after the attack unfolded and caused panic in the Kenyan capital, the country's Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i issued a statement, confirming that the attack had ended.  

In the statement released at 20:00 GMT, Matiang'i said that all the buildings in the complex had been secured by security forces.

Speaking to reporters, Matiang'i said, "The situation is under control and the country is safe. Terrorism will never defeat us."

The country's officials also confirmed the death toll and said that seven people were killed and eight others were wounded in the attack.

Local media broadcast footage of people being led out of the complex by the police and some of them were seen covered in blood. 

Reports also quoted witnesses as narrating how the horrific incident unfolded in the neighborhood and how the police responded to the situation. 

Some people that were rescued from inside the building that had come under attack, told reporters how they hid from the heavily armed men firing indiscriminately.

Survivors said that the gunmen hurled bombs and used automatic rifles to kill people at random. 

Later on Tuesday, the Somali Islamist group Al Shabaab claimed the attack

Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman was quoted as saying in a statement that the group was responsible for the attack. 

Musab said, "We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on."

Al Shabaab began an insurgency in Somalia a decade ago and regularly orchestrates acts of terrorism throughout the country and particularly in Mogadishu.

In 2011, Somali troops backed by African Union soldiers, managed to defeat and evict the group out of Mogadishu.

However, since then, the group has grown in size and strength and has launched several attacks targeting high profile locations in the Somali capital and across East Africa, killing hundreds of civilians and troops.

In 2016, Al Shabaab was ranked as the deadliest Islamist extremist group in Africa and the group has since stepped up its terror campaign in Somalia.

The group is on a mission to topple the Western-backed central government that is defended by the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force (AMISOM) and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam's sharia law.  

Over the last two years, the group has stepped up attacks against the African Union Mission in Somalia, bombing bases across the country's central and southern regions.

Al Shabaab often targets Kenya and carried out its deadliest attack in the country in 2013, when it killed 67 people at the Westgate shopping center.

Two years later, in 2015, the militant group killed nearly 150 students at Garissa university.

The militant group maintains that it carried out attacks as a revenge for Kenyan troops stationed inside Somalia.

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