Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

Five suspects in court over Nairobi hotel attack

Al Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate fighting to impose strict Islamic law, said it carried out the assault on the upscale dusitD2 compound over US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The attackers were in constant communications with several phone numbers which are located in Somalia", prosecutors said. Police said on Friday they had detained nine other suspects in connection with the incident.

"The investigations into this matter are complex and transnational and would, therefore, require sufficient time and resources to uncover the entire syndicate", Public Prosecution Director, Noordin Haji, said in a statement.

Gladys Kaari Justus is being investigated over the transfer of money while Guleid Abdihakim - who holds Canadian citizenship - is being probed over suspicious communication.

"We are aware of reports that a Canadian citizen has been arrested in Kenya", and is providing consular services to his family, it said.

The pair's father is an officer in the Kenyan military, she told Reuters.

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Gichunge's father, who is not believed to have been involved in the attack, was summoned for questioning about when he last saw his son and other details, a senior police official said. The police official spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

According to the police, 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack. Shop owners temporarily closed businesses to protest against extremism, and crowds gathered.

The suspects are accused of "possible involvement in the nearly 20-hour siege of the DusitD2 hotel and office complex by a suicide bomber and four gunmen who were all killed by security forces, a court document said".

In 2013 an attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi left 67 dead, while in 2015 Shabaab killed 148 people at a university in Garissa, eastern Kenya. Security camera footage released later showed a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a grassy area.

"The detectives are looking for a woman suspected to have ferried weapons from Kiunga through the port city of Mombasa to Nairobi", a police official who did not wish to be named said, referring to a region near the Somali border.

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