Simon Crump (pictured), an Australian national who has worked in Kenya for the past five years, has revealed how he survived Tuesday’s terror attack in Nairobi
An Australian man has revealed how he survived an Islamic terror attack by hiding under an office desk as three gunmen opened fire and a suicide bomber blew himself up in Kenya – leaving at least 15 dead.
The extremists, one wearing a green belt laden with grenades, were seen on CCTV blasting their way into a hotel and office complex in Nairobi after denoting multiple car bombs outside a nearby bank.
Simon Crump, originally from Sydney, has worked in Kenya’s capital for the past five years. He cowered in a spare room in his office with two colleagues as the attack unfolded.
‘We had no idea what was happening. Gunshots were coming from multiple directions… You’re hiding under a desk trying to figure out what’s going on, and you just don’t know,’ he said.
Pictured: One of the attackers who opened fire in the hotel as a suicide bomber detonated in the lobby
A security guard helps two women to flee from the Nairobi hotel (left) while others escape through a window before climbing down a ladder
CCTV shows three attackers walking towards the hotel wearing dark paramilitary-style gear
Mr Crump, who barricaded himself in the room for nearly three hours waiting for the danger to subside, told CBC he heard footsteps, gunfire and explosions coming from in and around the building.
‘It’s quite nerve-racking, because you just don’t know whether the noises you’re hearing, whether it’s people, whether it’s police, whether it’s terrorists, you just don’t know what those noises are,’ he said.
When soldiers finally reached Mr Crump and his colleagues, they told them to put their phones away and place their hands in the air as they made their way to safety.
Motionless bodies of victims around a table at a hotel and office complex in Nairobi after a terror attack in which at least 15 people were killed
Gunmen blasted their way into the complex – sending workers fleeing for their lives as others cowered under their desks. Pictured: Bullet holes in the windows of a restaurant at the venue
‘You’re hiding under a desk trying to figure out what’s going on, and you just don’t know,’ Mr Crump (pictured) said
Mr Crump said he could still hear the sounds of gunfire as he was evacuated.
‘I don’t know where those shots were coming from or who they were coming from, but as we were leaving it was definitely still much still very much active shooters around,’ he said.
‘I’ve been here five years, and obviously you’re aware of the security issues and the fact that hotels and corporate office blocks and shopping centres are high targets, but I think we’ve had a false sense of security.’
Mr Crump works as a senior account manager for a communications consultancy firm at its Riverside Drive office – which is part of the complex that was blown to pieces during Tuesday’s attack.
Civilians flee as gunfire erupts at the hotel complex, while members of the security forces (right) fire back at the attackers
Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene in the Kenyan capital
The DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel and offices for local and international companies, was attacked at 3.00pm local time, beginning with a massive explosion heard 5km away.
The suicide bomber then blew himself up in the hotel lobby before the other three began hurling grenades and shooting people as they fled or hid under tables.
Charles Njenga, a worker at the complex, said what he saw as he fled was ‘terrible’.
‘I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over,’ he said.
An unexploded grenade lies in a hallway in a hotel complex under attack by al Shabaab extremists
A member of the security forces is seen reflected in a window as he inspects bullet-holes in the glass
Cars were seen burning at the scene amid reports of explosions and heavy gunfire
John Maingi said there had been ‘a flash of lights and a loud bang’ at the Secret Garden restaurant where he works.
‘When I peeped outside I saw a human leg which has been cut off. We hid in the room and then some police officers rescued us,’ he said.
Reuben Kimani, a barista who was rescued after several hours trapped inside the hotel, said he had recognised one of the attackers as a client he had served coffee to in recent days.
‘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.’
Nairobi police had earlier said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery. But it was later revealed the incident was a terror attack
An injured man is evacuated from the scene of an explosion. Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the complex behind them
Several Nairobi establishments popular with westerners announced on social media that they had closed for security reasons.
Special forces units were sent in to flush the gunmen out and officials said the scene was secure at around 11pm local time.
But there were reports of further gunfire at 2am then again two hours later, when around 50 casualties trapped inside the building were still being evacuated.
The fate of the three gunmen is unclear.
Burnt-out cars in a parking lot within the complex. Police say one of the explosions was caused by a car bomb
Survivors duck down to avoid being shot and cling to the person in front as they are led out of the complex in single file
Survivors run for their lives in the street as a gunfight ensued between al Shabaab terrorists and Kenyan security guards
The Al-Qaeda-linked Somali group Al-Shabaab, which carried out a notorious assault on a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013, claimed responsibility for the latest strike.
‘We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on,’ Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters by telephone in Somalia.
Local authorities are yet to release an official death toll, but it is understood at least 15 people were killed with another 14 seriously injured.
A Briton and an American man were among those killed in the attack, which was carried out in neighbourhood filled with western expatriates.
The Australian embassy is located across the road from the complex, but it is understood all Australian High Commission staff are safe.
‘At this time, we are not aware of any Australians being affected,’ a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
CCTV showing two of the attackers walking past a barrier towards the hotel wearing dark paramilitary-style gear. Al Shabaab has already claimed responsibility for the carnage
Members of security forces secure a building at the scene where explosions and gunshots rang out on Tuesday
A policeman runs past burning cars during the attack which left at least 15 people dead