Five people, including a Canadian citizen, have appeared in a Kenyan court in connection with the horrific terror attack at a Nairobi hotel complex on Tuesday.
Four gunmen and a suicide bomber embarked on a 20-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and office complex, killing 21 people, including British charity executive Luke Potter and 41-year-old U.S. businessman Jason Spindler, and injuring 28 others.
The four men and one woman are among the 11 people accused of helping the terrorists, who all died during the siege, in the lead-up to the attack.
Accused: Osman Ibrahim, Oliver Muthee, Gladys Kaari Justus, Guled Abdihakim – who has Canadian citizenship – and Joel Nganga stand in the dock inside the Mililani Law Courts where they appeared in connection with the horrific terror attack at the DusitD2 complex, in Nairobi
Back in custody: Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money in connection with the terror attack which saw 21 people killed and 28 others injured
Suspects: Joel Nganga, Oliver Muthee, Guleid Abdihakim and Osman Ibrahim, are accused of ‘possible involvement in the almost 20-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and office complex by a suicide bomber and four gunmen who were all killed by security forces
Canadian citizen Guleid Abdihakim is being probed over suspicious communication, while Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money.
Two taxi drivers are accused of ferrying the attackers around before the attack: Joel Ng’ang’a Wainaina and Oliver Kanyango Muthee. The other suspect, Osman Ibrahim, is alleged to have met with one of the attackers on January 8.
A magistrate granted a request from the prosecution to detain the four men and one woman for 30 days while investigations continue.
Two suspects yet to appear in court, Ali Salim Gichunge and Violet Kemunto Omwoyo possessed SIM cards that were in ‘constant communication’ with numbers in Somalia, court documents revealed.
Kenyan investigators said today that one of the terrorists who attacked the hotel was a son of a Kenyan military officer.
The Daily Nation, a Kenyan newspaper, on Friday identified the attacker as Ali Salim Gichunge and said his father is a sergeant with the Kenya Defence Forces. The newspaper says Gichunge’s mother was arrested and taken to Nairobi for questioning.
The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed that it was behind the attack at the complex – which includes a large hotel known as DusitD2, banks and offices. Pictured: People run for cover
Gunmen blasted their way into the venue – sending workers fleeing for their lives as others cowered under their desks. Pictured: Bullet holes in the windows of a restaurant inside the venue
The British SAS soldier who volunteered to take part in the security forces’ response is reportedly in line to receive the George Cross medal for his actions in Nairobi on the day of the attack
Meanwhile, the British SAS trooper who volunteered to take part in the storming of the hotel during the terror attack has had to be extracted from Kenya over fears for his own safety after identifiable pictures of him were posted on social media.
The ‘decorated and veteran’ member of the SAS – who has been extremely active in Syria and involved in a number of operations against ISIS – is understood to have been out shopping in the city when he heard about the attack and kitted up with equipment in the back of his car before heading to the scene to ‘organise the entire operation’.
The off-duty Special Forces warrior, wearing combat gear over casual jeans and a purple shirt, was seen entering the complex in Nairobi and then emerging with terrified survivors.
Insiders say there is ‘no doubt’ his actions saved lives and he is now said to be in line to receive the George Cross medal of gallantry.
‘This man has shown remarkable bravery. He has saved dozens of lives,’ a senior military source told the Daily Telegraph.
‘You can fully expect him to receive one of the highest gallantry awards and most likely the George Cross. It won’t be announced. It will be given to him secretly.’
The George Cross is the second most prestigious medal for gallantry in the UK, with only the Victoria Cross being more distinguished.
Photos from the scene show the off-duty Special Forces warrior with combat gear over casual jeans and purple shirt storming the building and rescuing civilians. He used a modified colt Canada rifle and carried a Glock 9mm side weapon as well as a knife for hand-to-hand combat
The off-duty Special Forces warrior, wearing combat gear over casual jeans and a purple shirt, was seen entering the complex in Nairobi and then emerging with terrified survivors
The SAS hero was also seen rescuing civilians from inside the hotel complex while members of the Kenyan security forces fired at the terrorists
The British special forces soldier is pictured carrying a casualty out of the building with help from another man
But it has now emerged that the hero is having to flee the country over fears he could be targeted in retaliation for his brave actions.
A source close to the MailOnline said: ‘For his own safety he is leaving the country as he could be tracked down. His safety is paramount.
‘He is a decorated, veteran member of the SAS who was a member of D Squadron and extremely active in Syria taking part in a number of successful operations against ISIS. He had transferred to B squadron for this assignment’
The 22 SAS Regiment, of which this man is believed to be a member, is divided into four main squadrons – A, B, D and G – all of which consist of around 65 men led by a major.
Each squadron consists of four key specialisms – boat, air, mobility and mountain – and are the regular army unit for the SAS. The reserves are numbered 21 and 23.
The face of the SAS hero involved in the response to Tuesday’s terror attack was largely concealed by a balaclava. He used a modified colt Canada rifle and carried a Glock 9mm side weapon as well as a knife for hand-to-hand combat.
An image purporting to show one of the terrorists with a bandolier around his body and bullet casings scattered across the floor
Another image purporting to show one of the terrorists, with bullet damage to the wall behind him and wounds covering his corpse
AK-47s used by the terrorists (left) lie on the ground after being recovered by police. The five terrorists also wore bandoliers (right) which appear to be stuffed with rifle magazines and grenades
The British SAS soldier was reportedly in Nairobi to train Kenyan Special Forces when five Islamist terrorists attacked a luxury hotel complex in the city
The unnamed soldier helped rescue civilians and reportedly helped storm the complex
Kenyan security officers search for attackers during an ongoing gunfire and explosions in Nairobi on Tuesday
People take cover as they follow a police officer to evacuate the upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi
Security forces help civilians flee the scene as cars burn behind, at a hotel complex in Nairobi
Rescued: A distressed woman is taken out of the luxury hotel complex during the terror attack on Tuesday
Kenyan security forces walk from the scene shortly before President Kenyatta announced that the attack was over and all terrorists killed
Horrifying moment suicide bomber blows himself up is captured on CCTV
Dramatic footage has emerged showing the horrifying moment a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Kenyan terror attack.
CCTV, released to local media, shows the attacker walking calmly in front of what is believed to be the terrace of a restaurant in the complex.
At least two people are seen passing the assailant, one of them appearing to turn his head to take a close look at him.
The assailant stands still in front of the covered terrace for almost a minute, before he blows himself up. Soon after, panicked guests and workers are seen running past the scene of the explosion.
This is the shocking moment a suicide bomber blows himself up in the Kenyan terror attack that killed 21 people. Harrowing CCTV, released to local media, shows the attacker walking calmly in front of what is believed to be the terrace of a restaurant in the complex
At least two people are seen passing the assailant, one of them appearing to turn his head to take a close look at him. The assailant stands still in front of the covered terrace for almost a minute, before he blows himself up
Kenyan police said the attack began with an explosion outside the complex, followed by a suicide blast inside, before armed assailants arrived and opened fire
Soon after, panicked guests and workers are seen running past the scene of the explosion. The Al-Shabaab extremist group, which is based in Somalia and allied with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the brazen attack, which claimed the lives of 21 people, plus the five militants killed
Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qaeda, claimed it was behind the attack at the DusitD2 complex, situated in Nairobi’s well-to-do Westlands neighbourhood, popular with many foreign expatriates
Al-Shabaab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight it since 2011. Tuesday’s violence came three years to the day after al-Shabaab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, killing scores of people
Earlier this week, charity executive Luke Potter was named as the British man killed in the attack.
Mr Potter worked for the Gatsby Charitable Foundation as their Africa Programmes Director, and had only recently moved to Nairobi from the UK.
Luke Potter (pictured) worked for the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and had only recently moved to Nairobi from Britain when he was killed in the terror attack
The father-of-one had worked for the international development charity for more than three years, most recently on projects across East Africa.
Mr Potter, a dual British-South African citizen, described himself on his company website as loving water-sports, camping, hiking and talking about adventures outside the city.
‘I strongly believe in the need for societies to offer as equal an opportunity as possible to all, and that, while economic competitiveness is essential to build a country, long-term stability is not achievable unless the gains are widely spread,’ he said on the website
The Gatsby Charitable Foundation said in a statement they were ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ to confirm the death of Mr Potter.
‘Luke had devoted the past ten years of his career to helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. He had worked with us for three and a half years, carrying out assignments across East Africa.
Describing Mr Potter as ‘deeply committed to his work’, the statement added that ‘Luke was respected by all he worked with, bringing huge drive, determination, a relentless work ethic, and a thirst for new ideas to every project. He brought a calm head and his unique sense of humour to every situation.
‘We share the grief of his family, partner, daughter and friends. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with them. We are now focused on offering all the support we can to them and to our staff.’
Mr Potter had an Master of Business Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and had previously worked for charity TechnoServe in east Africa and for Unilever.
Spindler is pictured during a trip to Puerto Rico with friends in 2013 (left) and (right), rock climbing in Nairobi
Jason Spindler (pictured), 40, was killed at the Dusit hotel in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi along with 13 others on Tuesday
U.S. businessman Jason Spindler from Houston, Texas was also among the dead.
Spindler, who turned 41 on the very day of the terror attack, had survived the 9/11 terror attack on World Trade Center in 2001.
Mr Spindler’s father, Joseph, had been enjoying a successful career on Wall Street when he decided that he wanted to develop a model for helping low-income people.
Spindler later became the founder and CEO of I-DEV International, a management strategy and investment firm based in Nairobi, and had lived in Kenya for the past five years.
Survivors of the attack have shared the horrific tales of what went on inside the hotel complex when the gunmen stormed the building.
How the horror at the DusitD2 Hotel unfolded
Tuesday, 3pm: Initial reports of an explosion and gunfire from the Riverside Drive complex, including the hotel, shops, restaurants and offices in Nairobi’s leafy Westlands neighborhood.
Several cars are ablaze in a parking lot as security forces stream in and people run or are carried from the scene. Police quickly call it a terror attack.
4:30pm: Plainclothes armed officers hurry from shop to shop to look for trapped civilians and an unknown number of attackers. A black plume of smoke rises from the scene. Sporadic gunfire continues.
5pm: The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabaab claims responsibility and says its members are still fighting inside as surivivors rush from the scene, looking distraught and reporting dead bodies.
6pm: Kenya’s national police chief says special forces are trying to flush out the attackers and look forward to ‘bringing the situation to normalcy in the shortest time possible.’
Kenyans watch the police response closely after officers took hours to respond to a deadly attack on the nearby Westgate Mall in 2013.
7pm: A Kenyan police officer among the first on the scene says ‘there was no time to count the dead,’ with bodies seen in restaurants downstairs and in offices upstairs. Gunfire continues.
8:30pm: Kenya’s national police chief gives the first official details of the attack, saying it began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank while a suicide bomber blew up in the hotel lobby, severely wounding bystanders.
He calls the operation ‘still ongoing.’
11pm: Kenya’s interior minister says all buildings have been secured and security forces are in the final stages of ‘mopping up.’
Still no official toll of dead wounded.
11:30pm: Kenya’s Citizen TV airs what it calls surveillance footage that shows four attackers, young men in ammunition bandoliers, splitting up as they calmly walk across an outdoor area of the complex.
Wednesday, 1am: Some family members say loved ones are still trapped inside even after Kenyan authorities called all buildings secure. One woman says her brother is hiding with over 10 other people.
2am: Kenyan police officer says 15 bodies have been taken to the morgue. Anguished family and friends gather there.
4am: Kenya’s interior ministry says ‘no further threat to the public exists’ and that civilians who had been ‘secured’ in one building have been safely evacuated.
6:45am: Another explosion and gunfire are heard, shortly after scores of survivors who had still been holed up in part of the complex are freed.
They reunite with relieved friends and family and recount a long night of cowering in hiding places while listening to nearby gunfire.
9:00am: Bursts of gunfire are still heard from the complex.
The security forces work their way through the hotel complex, finding terrified groups of people who have barricaded themselves into rooms.
More than 100 are retrieved and taken for medical treatment.
10:30am: Kenyan president says 14 ‘innocent people’ are dead and declares the attack over, saying all the terrorists have been eliminated.
Reuben Kimani, a barista working at the hotel, said he recognised at least one of the attackers, having served him coffee in the run-up to the assault.
‘I knew one of them because he had a big scar on one of his hands,’ he said. ‘I saw them. They shot six of my friends, four didn’t die but two succumbed.’
He said the attackers yelled out ‘why are you killing our brothers and sisters in Somalia?’ before opening fire.
Cyprian Otieno, a 23-year-old student, met a friend for lunch elsewhere in Westlands, and then decided to go to the Dusit where his friend wanted to grab a cocktail.
‘All of a sudden we heard a weird BOOM followed by gunfire! Security guards at the entrance screamed ‘get back, get back’ in English and Swahili,’ he told AFP via Twitter.
He said some fled while others tried to hide, waiting about half an hour until they heard a voice shouting ‘kill them, kill them’ in Swahili and more gunfire.
Terrified a group of about 20 people fled towards the back of the hotel.
‘Sorry to say at that point it was every man for himself. We were all together in the beginning but after a few minutes the attackers began shooting… I can’t even really remember what happened afterwards.’
Tracy Wanjiru, 28, a manager at a salon housed in the complex, found herself in the middle of another Shabaab strike, five years after surviving an attack on the Westgate mall while she was six months pregnant.
Speaking to the Nation media group she said: ‘I was working there (Westgate) when the attackers stormed in, it was not easy just like today. All I can say is that I thank God.’
After the first blast was heard at the DusitD2 complex, Wanjiru says she saw ‘human body parts in the midst of fire flames flying in the air’.
A CCTV grab showing one of five suspected al Shabaab attackers who opened fire in the hotel as a suicide bomber detonated in the lobby
CCTV showing two of the alleged attackers walking past a barrier towards the hotel wearing dark paramilitary-style gear. Al Shabaab has already claimed responsibility for the carnage
Shell-shocked survivors are rushed to safety from the complex, barely-clothed, by security forces
An armed officer tells survivors to stay back and duck down as he tries to lead them to safety
A female member of staff cries after making it out of the complex. Her male colleagues and a guard console her
Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qaeda, claimed it was behind the attack at the DusitD2 complex, situated in Nairobi’s well-to-do Westlands neighbourhood, popular with many foreign expatriates.
As well as the Thai-owned luxury hotel DusitD2, the comples is home to offices of several international companies including Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Pernod Ricard, Dow Chemical and SAP, as well as the Thai-owned luxury hotel DusitD2.
Kenya’s Citizen TV aired security camera footage that showed at least four heavily armed men in dark-coloured, paramilitary-style gear. Officials later confirmed that five terrorists had been involved in the attack and killed.
Kenya’s national police chief, Joseph Boinnet, said the coordinated assault began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank, and a suicide bombing in the hotel lobby that severely wounded a number of guests.
Al-Shabaab’s 2013 attack at the nearby Westgate Mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people, this one appeared aimed at wealthy Kenyans and foreigners. It came a day after a magistrate ruled that three men must stand trial in connection with the Westgate Mall siege.
Al-Shabaab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight it since 2011. Tuesday’s violence came three years to the day after al-Shabaab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, killing scores of people.
The group has killed hundreds of people in Kenya. In the deadliest attack, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an assault on Kenya’s Garissa University in 2015 that killed 147 people, mostly students.
The latest carnage demonstrated al-Shabaab’s continued ability to carry out spectacular acts of bloodshed despite a dramatic increase in US air strikes against it under President Donald Trump.
Who are al Shabaab? Extremist group linked to al-Qaeda who killed 67 in 2013 Nairobi shopping centre attack
The al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, whose name means ‘The Youth,’ seeks to impose its strict version of sharia law in East Africa.
The group is particularly active in Somalia, where it has an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 militants in its ranks who frequently unleash attacks targeting security and government officials, as well as hotels and restaurants in the capital.
The group has also behind deadly attacks in Kenya and Uganda, which both contribute troops to an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, after Al-Shabaab gunmen raided the shopping centre killing more than sixty people in 2013
Tuesday’s attack immediately reminded many Kenyans of the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in 2013, when al-Shabaab extremists burst into the luxury shopping centre, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead.
British jihadi Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow, was rumoured to have been involved in planning that attack.
The complex attacked on Tuesday is less than two miles from Westgate Mall and is in what is considered one of the most secure areas of the city.
The attack came three years to the day after al-Shabaab extremists attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, killing scores of people.
The al Shabaab objects to the presence of Kenyan troops in the turbulent Horn of Africa nation.
British jihadi Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow, was rumoured to have been involved in planning the Westgate Mall attack