NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday started compiling forensic evidence at the scene the terrorist attack on 14 Riverside Drive, as the security services ended an 18-hour siege.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said a team of detectives had taken over the dusitD2 hotel and surrounding buildings, an area that was being treated as a crime scene.
The terrorist attack left 14 people dead and about 18 others injured.
Matiangi spoke when he visited the scene of a terrorist attack which coincided with the anniversary of a dawn attack on a Kenyan military camp in El Adde, Somalia, three years ago.
“DCI George Kinoti has taken over from here so this remains an active crime scene. We’ll therefore limit access to this place so that we’re able to gather the information we need to gather to move forward in the next steps,” he said accompanied by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe and other senior government officials.
Matiangi commended the security services for ensuring the safety of hostages during the siege.
“I need to assure the people of Kenya that the country is safe. We’re secure and are ready to defend our country. We’ll not bend, we’ll not retreat, and we’re not going to be intimidated by thugs whose interest is to hurt our way of life,” the interior CS told reporters.
Earlier on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta reported to the nation that over 700 civilians had been evacuated while declaring the end of the security operation.
“Even as we regret Tuesday’s incident, as Commander-in-Chief, I want to commend the quick and effective response by our elite fighting teams for neutralizing all the terrorists involved in the attacks. We have dealt with the threat decisively, and shown our enemies and the world that we are ready to deal with any threat to our nation,” he said in a televised address from State House.
Hundreds of unarmed civilians were rescued early Wednesday ahead of President Kenyatta’s address to the nation as elite security forces battled to secure the dusitD2 complex which came under attack at 3.30pm on Tuesday.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet commended the security team that conducted the operation saying it was meticulously done to save the lives of those trapped in the building.
“The security forces were very meticulous to have gotten out over 700 people from the place. If there wasn’t sufficient information at any point it is because the operation was ongoing and none of us wanted to speculate,” he said.
Gullet said about eighteen people had been injured and they were undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city.
“From a humanitarian perspective, there’s nothing more for us to do at the scene,” he noted while affirming that the rescue operation had come to a close.
The hours leading to the liberation of the complex were characterized by heightened activity with multiple ambulances emerging from the scene with evacuees.
In final moments of the security operation, the multi-agency team responding to the attack evacuated a wounded security officer at 9.26am, moments after a loud bang was heard.
The officer was whisked to safety in an armoured vehicle before being transferred to a waiting ambulance.
Special forces from foreign missions including the United States and the United Kingdom were among security response teams that joined the rescue operation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was keeping the international community updated even as nations around the globe continued to send solidarity messages.
“The UK embassy team will be working through the night to support the Kenyan authorities as they respond to this horrific attack and support any Brits who need our help,” Nic Hailey, UK’s top diplomat in the country tweeted Tuesday evening.
US ambassador Robert Godec commended the Kenyan security team for “actively working to end the attack.”
“The US Mission is in close communication with Kenyan authorities and is providing assistance,” he said.
The Chinese embassy strongly condemned the terrorist attack while appreciating the “swift response by the Kenyan security agencies.”
Security teams from the US embassy were among the first to arrive at 14 Riverside Drive following the attack.