Two explosions and gunfire were heard at an upscale hotel complex in Kenya’s capital on Wednesday afternoon, according to witnesses and police.
“We are under attack,” a person in an office inside the Dusit hotel complex – which also houses offices and banks – told the Reuters news agency. Local television showed smoke rising from the area.
“It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible. I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over,” said one a man who said he ran from the scene. He did not give details.
Gunfire continued several minutes after the first reports. Black smoke rose from the scene. A bomb disposal unit was on the scene and vehicles were being cordoned off for fear that they contained explosives.
“We have sent officers to the scene, including from the anti-terrorism unit, but so far we have no more information,” Charles Owino, the police spokesman, told AP news agency.
Al-Qaeda linked armed group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack that came a day after trial began in deadly Westgate mall attack case that left 67 people dead.
“We are currently conducting an operation in Nairobi,” the group’s military operations spokesman told Al Jazeera.
Kenyan prosecutors say the four suspects in the Westgate case currently on trial committed a terrorist act and used false documents. The men deny all charges.
The east African country faced a spate of attacks after it sent its army into Somalia in 2011 to fight the al-Qaeda-linked group.
Tuesday’s attack comes exactly three years after the armed group overran a Kenyan army base in Somalia, killing dozens of soldiers.
On April 2, 2015, in one of the most gruesome attacks on Kenyan soil, al-Shabab killed 148 people, most of them students, at a university in Garissa, eastern Kenya.