, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – When news of the terror attack at 14 Riverside Drive broke Tuesday afternoon, Kenyans turned to their television sets, websites and social media to keep abreast with unfolding events.
Hours into the attack, images of the attackers emerged and residents of one estate near Banana Town took a keener interest.
One of the attackers turned out to be their neighbour, rekindling debate on how much effort we put to know who lives amongst us.
We make our way on the narrow-tarmacked road in Mucatha, within Kiambu County where the attacker lived since November last year.
It is a gated community called Guango Estate which is about three kilometres from the main road heading to Banana Town.
The man easily identified by locals from the CCTV footage – wearing a cap – was an eloquent and fluent Swahili speaker but of Somali origin.
He lived there for three months and according to multiple witnesses, he lived with a woman.
“He had a beautiful lady who would only leave the compound while in his company,” a local who didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the case said.
According to his neighbours, the well-built man was only known to them as Salim, with a clean shaven head, had a goatee and loved wearing a cap.
Often, a local butcher Kariuki Chege says ,he would buy meat for his meals and feeding his cats. “He loved his cats,” Chege said.
“I just knew him for his love of meat. He looked moneyed.”
His last purchase at the butchery was last week on Thursday.
His presence would be heard rather than seen since his car was fitted with a turbo engine. “It would make a lot of noise,” another said.
According to a resident of the estate for 25 years, Dominic Njoroge, the attacker was just like any other ordinary residents of the estate.
“This is a gated community. We have never had any security incident,” Njoroge told Capital FM News.
Every house has a 10 metres long perimeter wall which is fitted with an electric fence.
“The estate is guarded on a 24-hours basis. We also have frequent police patrols,” Njoroge said.
Detectives camping at the estate were hoping to piece together his movements, possible accomplices and those who may have aided in the attack.
The Riverside attack left 14 people dead and scores of others injured.
Swift action by police officers saw hundreds safely evacuated.
After about 12 hours of an active operation, President Uhuru Kenyatta said order has been restored after the threat was neutralized.
The armed attackers used two vehicles to access the facility shooting anyone in their way.