Garissa hotel attack attributed to Al Shabab remnants


While there is no indication at present if the indiscriminate shooting the evening before yesterday at the Dunes Hotel in Garissa was related to the just concluded party nominations for political elective offices – a major rally was planned for later the following day by one of the leading parties contending for the presidency and a majority in parliament – the facts remain the same, that at least 5 people were killed and several more seriously injured when alleged Al Shabab terrorists opened fire on guests. The attackers, reportedly conversing in a local dialect, first approached the restaurant of the hotel, reportedly ordering tea but then drew their weapons, separated local patrons from upcountry guests before starting to shoot their victims, some in the back as they tried to escape, according to local Kenyan news media reports.

Since the start of the Kenyan offensive inside Somalia against criminals and terrorists attacking in cross border raids in September 2011 have a series of random grenade attacks and shootings taken place in Garissa and neighbouring towns and villages but also in Nairobi. This kept the entire country on a heightened state of alert, which saw hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, banks and government buildings receive added layers of protection to make entry into such plum targets very difficult if not impossible, thus avoiding any major terrorist indicents.

A twin attack on two church services in Garissa last year then saw these measures extended to religious services and locations too.

While Al Shabab has been on the back foot in Somalia after losing control of their key stronghold of Kismayu to Kenyan forces late last year, remnants have melted away into the general population in both Somalia and Kenya and continue to pose a serious threat, in particular seen in parallel with the upcoming elections, where Islamic terrorists and militants could use an already heightened state of tension to further aggravate potential disagreements over results. Condolences are expressed to the families and friends of those who perished.