A hotel and office complex in an upscale area of the Kenyan capital Nairobi were hit by two explosions earlier on Tuesday, with live footage from the scene also capturing the sound of gunfire and additional explosions as injured people are being led away from the scene. A nearby university building was also evacuated.
At least one person has been killed and four seriously injured in an ongoing attack. The Al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident.
Kenya’s Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has referred to the incident as a “suspected terror attack” adding that armed militants may still be inside the building and that the operation is ongoing.
“A group of unknown armed assailants attacked the Dusit Complex in what we suspect could be a terror attack,” he said as cited by Reuters.
A hotel and office complex were hit by two explosions earlier on Tuesday, with live footage from the scene also capturing the sound of gunfire and additional explosions as injured people are being led away from the scene. A nearby university building was also evacuated.
A spokesperson for the al-Shabaab Islamist militant group told Reuters that it has claimed responsibility for the attack adding that its members are still fighting inside.
Bomb disposal experts have been spotted at the scene but it remains unclear whether they have been deployed as sporadic gunfire and explosions at the hotel continue.
Earlier a spokesperson for the police said they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack, CGTN Africa reports.
“We are under attack,” a witness to the incident in the DusitD2 hotel said.
Footage from the scene shows cars on fire and injured people being helped away from the scene.
“I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,” another witness said.
The Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive due to a suspected robbery.
However, speaking to local television, a spokesperson for the police said they are not ruling out the possibility that it is a militant attack.
“We have to go for the highest incident that could take place. The highest incident we have is a terror (attack),” Charles Owino told Citizen Television.
Live footage from the scene captured footage of police taking up positions around the building and helping injured people away from the incident. One man appeared to be covered in blood as he was evacuated.
The DusitD2 hotel describes itself as “five-star business hotel with Thai heritage” which is “cocooned away in a secure and peaceful haven” just minutes from the Nairobi Central Business District.