Kenya Terrorist Attack: 01.15.2019
Significant safety precautions are in place in Kenya's capital as well as a commitment from the country's head of security to investigate the cause and remedy the impact.
Posted: 18 January 2019
01.15.2019 (NKC African Economics Research contribution) - On Tuesday afternoon, January 15, Somalia-based terrorist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attached on a hotel and office complex in Westlands Nairobi. Gunfire and an explosion were initially reported, and police initially told reporters 15 people were killed in the attack, 11 of whom were Kenyan, one American and another British, while the remaining two victims did not have identification on them. It has subsequently been reported that at least 21 people were killed in the attack.
The attack is the first in the capital since 2014 when three blasts in January, March and May claimed a total of 16 lives. That the attacks focused on the luxury hotel and business office complex means it was highly likely this was a premeditated attack and the perception is largely that it will have a significant impact on safety perceptions by international tourists and the country’s elite, clearly the intentions of Al-Shabaab.
An attack of this magnitude in Nairobi will ensure that it gets large global media attention. But the use of terror to reach political ends is rarely successful, and there is little reason to expect this will force a significant change in policy. Whether this is the beginning of a longer campaign of attacks on Nairobi is obviously impossible to tell. For now, at least, this is an isolated event after nearly five years with no such attacks in the capital.