Gunshots heard in upscale complex in Kenyan capital - witnesses

The Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive due to a suspected robbery.

Kenyan special forces take position outside a hotel complex following an explosion in Nairobi's Westlands suburb on 15 January 2019, in Kenya. Picture: AFP

NAIROBI - Two explosions and gunfire were heard at an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday afternoon, said a woman working in a neighbouring building.

“We are under attack,” another person in an office inside a complex in the Dusit hotel told Reuters, then hung up. Local television showed smoke rising from the area.

The Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive due to a suspected robbery.

A witness on the scene he says there’s confusion around exactly what happened.

“I heard a very loud bang. At first, I thought it was an electrical issue, like a transformer which exploded. A minute later I start hearing gunfire.”

He says the situation is still tense and security personnel have been deployed to the scene.

“A hotel called dusitD2 has come under attack. There is smoke in the air and it looks pretty bad. Two vehicles are on fire inside the complex,” he added.

Kennedy Abwao, a reporter for the Pan African New Agency, adds: “There was an explosion. The security of the hotel responded and then there were some policemen who were deployed to respond to the attack.”

Officials have confirmed people are being evacuated, while officers are trying to rescue those trapped inside.

The area is about three kilometres away from the Westgate Mall, where militants killed 67 people in a siege in 2013.

Reuters is reporting that Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab has now claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group's spokesperson Abdiasis Abu Musab has told the news agency that its operation is ongoing and will give details later on.

Many also reported hearing sustained gunfire in the popular riverside area which also houses offices.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)