Anyone visiting Nairobi for the first time taking a walk down 14 Riverside Drive Complex at the Dusit D2 hotel, seeing people heading to their offices, others enjoying meals at various eateries and shoppers coming in and out of the premises, would be unaware of the fact that precisely 3 years ago today, terrorists had invaded the area.
On January 15, 2019, al Shabab, a Somalia-based Islamic terror organization, stormed the DusitD2 hotel killing 21 people and injuring many others. The incident took place on the same day that Kenya was commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the El Adde attack.
Unlike the siege on Westgate Shopping Mall that took place in September 2013, the security personnel's response was well-coordinated, swift, and effective. The terrorists were put on the defense minutes into the attack. This took away their ability to commit mass murders and significantly limited their ability to spread fear and panic. The radicals were eliminated by the security agents, and the siege was eased by mid-morning the next day. Civilians were let back into the upscale complex days after the incident. The hotel reopened six months later, with business as usual. However, memories of the ordeal still remain for those who survived.
Saturday, January 15, 2022 marks 3 years since the terror event took place. Prior to the anniversary, security operations have been ramped up to foil any planned extremist attack given the sporadic incidents that have happened in January including one in Mogadishu that took place on January 13, 2022, where at least nine people were killed and others wounded, and another in Lamu County and its environs targeting security personnel and civilians.
For the anniversary, Kenyans have taken to social media to express their support for the families who were affected by the Dusit D2 attack and the survivors, and also celebrate the resilience, vigilance and patriotism of the security agencies, as well as all Kenyans who have joined hands in the fight against extremism.
In its efforts to mark the anniversary of the 14 Riverside attack, the National Counter Terrorism Centre organized a series of activities to reflect on the progress made, challenges faced and future prospects in countering radicalization and violent extremism in the country, including various mainstream media initiatives, and online (twitter space) engagements.
In conclusion, leaders, citizens and multi-agency teams should continue to work together to build on the accomplishments demonstrated in the management of the DusitD2 terror incident to ensure that Kenya deters extremism and terrorism in the future.