Cellulant mourns 6 senior staff killed in terror attack

January 19, 2019 (4 weeks ago) 12:54 pm
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The six were shot dead during the Tuesday attack at the Riverside Drive complex.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Of the 21 people killed in the Tuesday terror attack at Riverside Complex, six were senior managers at Cellulant.

The management of Cellulant, an online payment solutions provider in the region, has released identities and detailed profiles of its staff who died in the attack. Dusit hotel also lost 6 and is planning a memorial for them on Wednesday at Consolata Shrine.

The attack also claimed the lives of two foreign nationals, Luke Potter (Briton) and Jason Spindler (a US citizen).

Potter worked for Gatsby Africa, a charity organization as its Africa programmes director, while Spindler was the director of a business development firm based in Nairobi. Spindler had survived the September 11 attack in New York in 2001.

DusitD2 which lost the second highest number of employees. The hotel’s General Manager Michael Metaxas said on Thursday four staffers had died in the attack with three recovering in hospital.

The high-end hotel includes Zing Bar and Lounge, D-Studios, Soko Restaurant, and Ansolut Bar.

The Cellulant employees killed include a product developer, an information security expert, a manager, a quality assurance officer, a software engineer, and an implementation engineer.

Ashford Kuria headed the Product Development Department, with Cellulant management saying “His knowledge of everything about everything was hilarious because he spent much of his time quietly working on his projects.”

Dennis Mwaniki, who worked as the Head of Information Security, was mourned as a “very humble man.” Mwaniki is a former president of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi.

Mwaniki (Centre) in a blue shirt with colleagues when he served at the Rotaract club. Photo/RCN

“Mwaniki’s intelligence in matters cyber security is said to have won the company he worked for a much coveted certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),” Cellulant, founded in 2004, said in a brief tribute note shared online.

“His intellect and quick thinking, got Cellulant our ISO27001 information security certification,” the company co-founded by Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro said of him.

Head of Cellulant’s hub – Jeremiah Mbaria – was described as a brother and a mentor, “he was not just a leader,” a tribute message read.

“He guided his team with humility and corrected with humor. He loved God and everyone he came across and challenged his team to work on bettering themselves.”

John Ndiritu worked as a Quality Assurance Tester. One of Cellulant’s clients he worked for was Ecobank, a leading regional banking group in West Africa which also has outlets in Kenya.

Ndiritu also led teams that provided bulk short message service solutions to various entities.

“He was passionate about service improvement and worked on all the projects. John was best known for humor,” Cellulant remembered him.

Cellulant was located in the north-east part of the 14 Riverside Drive sharing a complex with Dow Chemical East Africa Limited, Adam Smith International Africa Limited, Kenya Gatsby Trust, Sandawoods Limited, Delors Limited t/a LJA Associates Advocates, SAP East Africa, Landmark Virtual Offices Limited, and Cellulant Kenya Limited.

The attack staged by five al-Shabab-linked terrorists also claimed the life of Kelvin Gitonga, an engineer Cellulant described as “passionate about his job and everything Java Script.”

“Kelvin will be remembered as an intelligent and a competent engineer who worked in the Hub Implementation Department as a Hub Developer,” the company said in a tribute it released ahead of a memorial service in remembrance of its staffers at the Christ is the Answer Ministry (CITAM) on Valley Road on Tuesday next week.

The sixth staff member killed in the attack was also an engineer. Wilfred Kareithi worked as the Implementation Engineer and leader of Cellulant’s Global Delivery Team.

He was remembered as an energetic person who epitomized the firm’s motto: make it possible.

“Wilfred was always happy and an individual who never shied away from any difficulties,” Cellulant remembered in the tribute note.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Ken Njoroge told Capital FM News on Saturday the management was focused on offering any support it could to the families of the six staff members who died in the 14 Riverside Drive attack.

Njoroge refrained from making further comments saying detailed tributes will be read Tuesday next week during a memorial service at Nairobi’s CITAM Valley Road at 10.30 am.

Kuria, Mwaniki, Mbaria, Ndiritu, Gitonga, and Kareithi were among hundreds that were at 14 Riverside Drive that encompasses the dusitD2 hotel and office complexes. Over 700 hostages were rescued by the end of a security operation on Wednesday morning.

Football enthusiast James Oduor, who was known to friends as Odu Cobra also died in the attack. He worked at LG Electronics, and had tweeted during the attack asking “”What’s happening at 14 Riverside man. We’re trapped in our buildings. Gunshots and non-stop explosions.”

James Oduor was killed in the attack.

Two others killed in the attack were two close friends–Abdalla Sheikh Dahir and Feisal Rashid Ahmed-who are said to have been working on a project for Adam Smith International (ASI) called the Somalia Stability Fund aimed at fostering peace in Somalia through more than 100 local communities.

The southern edge of 14 Riverside Drive close to the main entrance was occupied by ten other companies. They are I & M Bank Limited, Orion Pharmacy, Croydon Limited, Deepa Dosaja Limited, Media Edge Interactive Limited, LG Electronics Africa Logistics FZE, Control Risks East Africa, Horizons Group Limited, Evonik Industries AG, and Colgate Palmolive (EA) Limited.

dusitD2 hotel boasts of modern amenities. Photo/COURTESY.

On the West, ten other firms occupied a complex. They are Safari Trails, Westlands Forex Bureau ExChange Ltd, Genafrica Asset Managers Limited, JHPiego Corporation, Reckitt Benckiser, Fanisi Capital, Redhouse Group, VISA CEMEA Holdings Limited, Pernod Ricard Limited, and Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc.

Further south were Amandari Limited, Tintoria Limited, Dolce Cavallo, AC Nielsen Kenya Limited, Horizons Group Limited, and Keroche Industries Limited.

On the northern edge were a bar and a pool area for DusitD2.

Other entities located on 14 Riverside Drive were Gatsby Africa, Brighter Monday Limited, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Amadeus Global Travel Distribution Ltd, HIP Partners Kenya, Adam Smith International, Quintessentially Lifestyle Services, and Soi.

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