, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The government on Thursday assured foreign diplomats of Kenya’s commitment to tackling terrorism in all its forms, two days after the Dusit complex attack that left 21 people dead.
Accompanied by cabinet colleagues Fred Matiangi (Interior) and Najib Balala (Tourism), Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma told diplomats stationed in Nairobi that the government will continue to cooperate with other countries in global efforts to combat terrorism.
“Kenya remains unbowed and will play her part in support of stronger international cooperation and efforts to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat all forms of terrorism,” she said.
The CS commended the international community for supporting Kenya as security services responded to the 14 Riverside Drive terror attack rescuing over 700 hostages alive.
Juma equally expressed gratitude to the diplomats for sharing messages of solidarity with the country for the loss of 21 civilians during the incident reported at 3.30 pm on Tuesday.
“The messages of encouragement and support confirm the value of international cooperation, and reaffirm our commitment to the same,” she noted.
“They also demonstrated the resolve from across the international community to strengthen counter terrorism efforts and cooperation with Kenya as well as numerous pledges, in various formations, to track and bring to justice all those who may have played a role in the execution of the attack,” the CS added.
She reiterated President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assurance that Kenya was ready and open for business with the bourse at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) gaining Sh19 billion the day after the attack rising, market capitalization to Sh2.2 trillion.
The shilling also remained steady against the US dollar trading at 101.7 units throughout the period of the attack.
“Kenya remains united and resilient. The business community has not been shaken,” Juma assured.
“Instead, we are receiving very encouraging responses and news from the bourse that the Nairobi Stock Exchange gained Ksh.19 billion in a day.”
The briefing by CS Juma came hours after the United States dismissed reports that it advised its nationals to avoid the dusitD2 complex on 14 Riverside Drive based on prior intelligence of an impending attack.
“Contrary to some false reports on social media, the United States had no advance notice of the attack, nor did we ever advise American citizens or our staff to avoid the DusitD2 prior to the incident,” the US Embassy in Nairobi said in a statement to newsrooms.
Ambassador Robert Godec however assured that the US government will continue to provide assistance in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
Security teams from the US embassy as well as an officer from Britain’s elite Special Air Service army unit were among response teams that contained the attackers setting over 700 hostages free by the end of the security operation Wednesday morning.
Godec warned against the spread of falsehoods saying in the wake of the terrorist attack “which only serves to hamper ongoing efforts to defeat terrorism.”
The number of the dead from the terror incident rose Wednesday night when National Police Service Inspector General Joseph Boinnet updated the tally from an earlier reported 14 to 21 following the retrieval of seven bodies from the scene of the attack.
He said the casualties included sixteen Kenyans, a Briton, an American and three unidentified persons of African descent.
Boinnet said two persons believed to have facilitated the attack had been arrested. The number of those arrested had risen to eleven by Friday morning.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations were Thursday engaged in a busy day collecting forensic evidence from the scene of the terrorist attack as the agency gathers evidence against persons of interest.
The DCI boss has said his officers are pursing more suspects who are said to have had direct contact with the terrorist who attacked the dusitD2 complex.
The Kenya Red Cross Society on Thursday said all the 94 tracing cases had been closed by 12.30pm.
The humanitarian movement’s Secretary General Abbas Gullet had reported 18 cases of injured persons when he spoke Wednesday morning while praising the security services for ending the 18-hour siege with minimum casualties.
“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.