Nairobi DusitD2 complex attack

The 2019 DusitD2 complex attack was a terrorist attack that occurred from 15 to 16 January 2019 in the Westlands area of Nairobi, Kenya, which left 22 civilians and all five terrorists dead.[7][8][9][10]

2019 Nairobi DusitD2 complex attack
Civilians Scamper to safety as plain clothe police provide cover at dusit d2 nairobi.jpg
Civilians move to safety as police provide cover at DusitD2 Nairobi
Location14 Riverside Drive complex, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
Coordinates01°16′12″S 36°48′13″E / 1.27000°S 36.80361°E / -1.27000; 36.80361Coordinates: 01°16′12″S 36°48′13″E / 1.27000°S 36.80361°E / -1.27000; 36.80361
Date15–16 January 2019 (2019-01-16)
15:00 (EAT (UTC+3))
Attack type
Suicide bombing and mass shootings
WeaponsAK 47, Type 56-2, AK-63, explosives, F1 Grenade (attackers)
H&K G3, Colt Canada C7, FN SCAR (defenders)[1][2][3][4]
Deaths22 (plus 5 attackers)[5][6]
MotiveOpposition to Kenyan involvement in the Somali Civil War and Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
OpenStreetMap view of attack location


The Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has been opposed to Kenyan involvement in the Somali Civil War.[citation needed] The terrorist group had previously attacked the suburb of Westlands during the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack, which left 67 people dead.[11] In 2015, Al-shabaab terrorists were involved in mass shooting of Garissa University College students leaving 147 dead and many others injured.[12] This incident was the country's worst terrorist attack since the 1998 United States embassy bombings, which left over 200 people dead.[13]


The attack occurred at the 14 Riverside Drive complex in Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.[14] This is an upscale hotel and office complex which hosts the DusitD2 Hotel and the Commission on Revenue Allocation.[7][8] Other clients of the complex, amongst others, include: Adam Smith International, Amadeus IT Group, LG Electronics, I & M bank, JHPiego, SAP East Africa and Cellulant Kenya Ltd.[15]


The attack began at 14:30 on 15 January 2019, and was concluded a few minutes before 10:00 the following day.[14] Initial reports were of gunfire and two explosions at the hotel.[10] The five attackers,[10] arrived in two vehicles. One of the attackers went discreetly and blew himself up next to Secret Garden restaurant.[16] After the blast the remaining terrorists forced guards to open the gates of 14 Riverside Drive by shooting at them and lobbing grenades as they made their way into the complex, igniting some vehicles parked in the parking bay.[17][18][19] The Recce company, the anti terrorism division of the Kenya police force, General Service Unit, were sent in to combat the militants.[8][11][18] Members of private security forces and unarmed individuals along with some off duty police officers were first to respond. A masked (wearing balaclava) member of the British SAS (Christian Craighead), who was in the country to conduct training, accompanied by a member of the Diplomatic Protective Services Tactical Response Unit (DPS-TRU) (Dan J. Prastalo) indicating "Agent" sign and a shield badge on his tactical vest, started clearing floor by floor of the office and car park buildings. They were heard shouting call sign "Eagle Eagle Security Forces" as they tried to call out hostages that were hiding. Both individuals were seen on the mainstream media clips escorting groups of hostages and carrying wounded ones, before running back into the complex while the attackers were shooting down on them.[1][20] Australian High Commission security detail also exchanged fire with the terrorists as they made their way into the complex, injuring one attacker.[17] While it had been thought that the attack had been neutralized after a few hours, gunfire and explosions were again heard early on 16 January.[21] Christian Craighead shot and killed two of the attackers and is currently being awarded Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his extreme bravery.[22][better source needed]

President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta initially said that 14 people had been killed;[14][21] later on 16 January it was reported that 21 civilians and five attackers had been killed.[5] A year after the attack, on 15 January 2020, hotel nurse Noel Kidaliza, who was critically injured during the attack, died of her wounds at a hospital, bringing the death toll to 27.[23]

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement that was released during the attack.[10] They claimed that the attack was "a response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel".[5][24]


Nineteen Kenyan citizens, an American and a British-South African man died during the attack. A Kenyan woman died a year later after succumbing to her wounds, bringing the civilian death toll to 22.[25][6]

Immediately after the incident concluded, the 14 Riverside Drive complex and its immediate environs were closed to public as police termed the area an active scene of crime.[26] Security agencies were able to trace the residence of the terror suspects to Kiambu, Mombasa and Nyeri counties.[16][27] On 17 January, the Kenya Red Cross Society informed the public that all who had earlier been listed as missing had been accounted for.[28] The national police service was lauded for its well-organized response that saw close to 700 people being rescued from the hotel complex.[29][28] On 19 January 2019, five people appeared in court accused of assisting in the terrorist attack.[30] On the same day, the Australian embassy denied allegations that one of the fatalities was an Australian.[31] Initially both Kenyan and Australian media houses had stated that one of the victims an Australian citizen and was visiting his girlfriend in Kenya before his death in the attack.[32][33]

Popular CultureEdit

In the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019 video game), a playable skin is based on the British SAS Christian Craighead.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Who was the SAS soldier with pirate badge pictured at scene of Nairobi terrorist attack?". The Independent. 16 January 2019. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ "The FN SCAR rifle that is only used by Kenyan forces in Africa". 1 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Two suspects arrested over Dusit terror attack as hunt for more goes on". 16 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Dead end looms for criminals as police given modern guns". 28 October 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kenya hotel attack death toll rises to 21". BBC News. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "DusitD2 hotel attack death toll rises to 21". Daily Nation. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Explosions and gunfire heard in Kenyan capital Nairobi". 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Nairobi DusitD2 hotel under attack as blasts and gunfire heard". BBC News. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  9. ^ Mackintosh, Eliza (15 January 2019). "11 dead as police battle gunmen at Nairobi hotel complex". CNN. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Burke, Jason (15 January 2019). "Nairobi attack: hotel gunmen in armed standoff with police". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Shabab Claim Responsibility for Attack in Nairobi". New York Times. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Garissa University College attack", Wikipedia, 13 December 2018, retrieved 21 January 2019
  13. ^ "1998 United States embassy bombings", Wikipedia, 21 January 2019, retrieved 21 January 2019
  14. ^ a b c Patrick, Lang'at; Elizabeth, Merab (16 January 2019). "14 dead in Dusit attack, President Kenyatta says all assailants killed". The Nation. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  15. ^ Musambi, Everlyne (15 January 2019). "Here are the tenants of 14 Riverside office park, scene of bomb attack". Nation Media. Nairobi News. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b "2 Dusit killers were from Kiambu, Nyeri". The Star Newspaper. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Video clip emerges of DusitD2 suicide bomber". The Standard Group. The Standard Newspaper. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Nairobi attack: What we know so far". The Nation. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Dusit staff allowed to pick belongings: PHOTOS". Daily Nation. Nation Media. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  20. ^ Association, Press (16 January 2019). "SAS member helped secure Nairobi hotel complex". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Hotel attackers killed by Kenyan forces". BBC News. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Christian Craighead MBE CGC". RCW Literary Agency. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  23. ^ Memorial Service Held for Nairobi Terror Attack Survivor Who Died Days Shy of Anniversary
  24. ^ "Terror group says deadly Kenya attack over Trump recognition of Jerusalem". Times of Israel. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  25. ^ Head, Tom (16 January 2019). "South African killed in Nairobi attacks named as Luke Potter". The South African. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  26. ^ Muhatia, Abel (17 January 2019). "40 firms affected in Dusit terror attack, complex closed". The Star. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Cops raid Mombasa house where Dusit attacker lived". The Star, Kenya. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  28. ^ a b "All missing people in Dusit attack accounted for". Daily Nation. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  29. ^ Melanie, Mwangi (17 January 2019). "Police reforms group lauds Boinett for professional Dusit operation". The Star, Kenya. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Sim card gives detectives crucial clues to intricate web of terrorists". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Envoy denies media reports Australian national was killed in Dusit attack". The Star, Kenya. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  32. ^ "Nairobi attack: Australian man reportedly among dead in Kenya". 18 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Man on trip to meet his girlfriend among Dusit victims". Daily Nation. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.