After 19 hours of terror, gunfire, bloodshed, and inevitable confusion, the siege at an upmarket hotel and business complex in the hills west of Nairobi’s central business district ended abruptly on Wednesday morning.
“The security operation… is over and all the terrorists eliminated,” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on national television, to widespread public relief.
Throughout the night, cowering groups of civilians – many had spent hours hiding in their offices or in bathrooms – were escorted to safety by security forces. The sporadic bursts of gunfire and the boom of explosions continued well beyond dawn.
“Eight hours and still praying for a rescue hopefully soon,” businesswoman Aggie Asiimwe Konde texted from her hiding place overnight, before being rescued three hours later with “over 50 people in my group. No injuries”.
“Please help… I am at 14 Riverside Drive… huge bomb then gunshots now I am hiding in toilet,” Ronald Ng’eno messaged on social media.
Rwo hours later he said he was “still hiding… Phone charge almost off… We are still in bathroom gunshots in building, please pray… If I die… please tell my family I love the(m).” He was also rescued early on Wednesday…