NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – A team of police officers drawn from the Bomb Disposal Unit Tuesday afternoon detonated explosives in a car left by attackers at the dusitD2 complex on 14 Riverside Drive.
The car had several mobile phones and other electronics.
The car was detected by a team of first responders who had a hard time trying to cordon off the area as the public surged on hearing of the attack.
“The casualties could have been massive,” a senior officer at the scene said.
There was a near stampede as people scampered for safety after the loud bang due to the detonation. A body was lying a few metres from the vehicle.
The detectives embarked on ascertaining the safety of other cars on the road leading to the complex housing dusitD2 hotel and several office blocks.
More than three teams of the Recce squad were deployed and were engaging the attackers holed up inside one of the buildings.
“Take cover. They are now upstairs,” this reporter heard officers his colleagues and journalists.
Hundreds of people were seen being escorted from the scene by armed police officers and officials from the Kenya Red Cross.
“We were at our work place when we heard a loud explosion. I saw a massive light and then gunshots started,” one of the people working in one of the salons inside the complex told Capital FM News.
– Witness accounts –
Multiple witnesses – all of them who were inside or around the complex – said the attackers came aboard two vehicles.
Along the way, they shot two yet to be identified students who were rushed to hospital.
Those who were rescued said they saw about nine armed people, whom they believe were part of the attackers.
Those leaving the complex had their details noted down.
Four police helicopters were hovering over the complex and surrounding areas before darkness set it.
The attack comes a day when Kenya is marking the third anniversary since Al-Shabaab terrorists killed hundreds of Kenya Defence Forces in their El Adde camp in Somalia.