Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced on Wednesday that the 19-hour terror attack on a Nairobi hotel and office complex had ended but many questions remained unanswered.
The attack occurred at the DusitD2 hotel and its adjoining office complex, but it was not clear why that particular hotel was targeted, and why the attack occurred on Tuesday.
Officials and reporters speculated that like the Westgate hotel attack in 2013 that left 67 people dead around the same area, Tuesday’s terror attack seemed to be aimed at Kenyan professionals and foreigners.
President Kenyatta said 14 civilians and all the attackers were killed while 700 people were evacuated to safety.
The death toll included 11 Kenyans, an American, a Briton and two others.
The al-Qaeda-aligned Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attacks.
On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, hundreds of guests at the DusitD2 hotel and workers in its adjoining office complex hid under desks and locked themselves in rooms, or ran for cover as the attack unfolded.
Gunfire was audible throughout the night and into the morning.
But things seemed to be back to normal on Wednesday. Nairobians came out in large numbers to donate blood while traffic snarls and the buzz of the city resumed.
The latest attack demonstrates al-Shabab remains capable of carrying out attacks outside Somalia despite a dramatic increase in airstrikes against them by the Kenyan air force and U.S. military.
Among the dead was Jason Spindler, an American business executive. Newspapers described him as the C.E.O. of a consulting firm that has its Africa headquarters in the complex attacked by the terrorists.
“Jason Spindler was one of those rare men who was loved by pretty much anyone he touched in Kenya and around the world … He chose a life of hope and inclusion. I am grateful to have known and learned from him,” a friend wrote on Twitter.
A Kenyan parliamentarian, Fatuma Gedi, announced the deaths of two Kenyans of Somali descent, Feysal Rashid Haji and Abdalla Sheikh Mohamed Dahir.
“We will come out of this cowardly act stronger and more united as a nation,” Gedi wrote.
Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.