NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Officials on Wednesday reopened the Kenyan luxury hotel complex that al-Shabab attacked in January in the deadliest extremist assault inside the country in several years.
Twenty-one people were killed in the hours-long attack on the dusitD2 complex in Nairobi. Several Al-Shabab gunmen stormed the area, detonating explosives and sending panicked people fleeing. Kenyan security forces ended the siege of the complex the following day, with all attackers killed. More than 700 people were evacuated.
“We cannot be intimidated terrorists,” Kenya’s tourism and wildlife minister, Najib Balala, told the gathering on Wednesday. “I want to assure the facility of the government’s support as they reopen for business that such an incident will never happen again.”
The January attack demonstrated al-Shabab’s continued ability to carry out spectacular acts of bloodshed despite a dramatic increase in U.S. airstrikes against it in Somalia under President Donald Trump.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, based in neighboring Somalia, has vowed retribution after Kenya sent troops to fight the extremists in 2011. Another large-scale al-Shabab attack on a nearby Nairobi mall, Westgate, in 2013 killed 67 people.
Kenyan security forces have been praised for their quick response to the January attack, in contrast to their fumbling response to the 2013 one.
Al-Shabab has killed hundreds of people in Kenya. In the deadliest attack, the extremist group claimed responsibility for an assault on Kenya’s Garissa University in 2015 that killed 147 people, mostly students.
Tourism — an important source of revenue in Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy — has suffered because of the years of violence.
“We have received immense support and love from Kenyans during this period,” the dusitD2 management tweeted on Wednesday after months of renovations.
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