Attack in Kenya capital kills one, wounds four - hospital

The five patients were brought to MP Shah Hospital and one of them died, said Toseef Din, the facility’s chief operating officer.

A woman reacts as she leaves the scene of an explosion at a hotel complex in Nairobi's Westlands suburb on 15 January 2019, in Kenya. Picture: AFP

NAIROBI - A least one person was killed and four injured in an attack on Tuesday at an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a hospital official said.

The five patients were brought to MP Shah Hospital and one of them died, said Toseef Din, the facility’s chief operating officer. The Red Cross said four hospitals had received casualties.

A plume of smoke rose above the 14 Riverside Drive complex. Firefighters extinguished three cars ablaze by the entrance as armed security personnel headed in and other armed officers escorted shocked workers out, many with their hands up.

A woman shot in the leg was carried out and three men emerged covered in blood. Some office workers climbed out of windows. Many told Reuters that they had had to leave colleagues behind, still huddled under their desks.

“There’s a grenade in the bathroom,” an officer yelled as police rushed out from one building.

A picture of the grounds on Twitter showed what appeared to be a human leg lying on the ground.

“We heard a loud bang from something that was thrown inside. Then I saw shattered glass,” Geoffrey Otieno, who works at a beauty salon in the complex, told Reuters. “We hid until we were rescued.”

Kenya has often been targeted by al-Shabaab, who killed dozens of people in a shopping center in 2013 and nearly 150 students at a university in 2015.

The police were already treating the incident as a potential militant attack.

“We have to go for the highest incident that could take place. The highest incident we have is a terror (attack),” police spokesman Charles Owino told Citizen Television. Violent robberies are also common in Kenya.

“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,” a woman working in a bank in the complex said, adding she had heard two explosions.

“We are under attack,” another person in an office told Reuters, then hung up.

Kenya's police chief Joseph Boinnet has confirmed the attack in the capital of Nairobi is a suspected militant attack.
In a briefing on Tuesday, he warned there could still be armed assailants in the building and he said the police operation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, the US, UK and Australian governments have issued advisories urging their nationals to avoid the vicinity of a hotel complex in Nairobi.

A statement on the US embassy in Nairobi also urged citizens to "move or remain in known safe areas until further notice" and "notify friends and family of their safety".