Memorial held for victims of al-Shabab attack in Nairobi

Hundreds attend service honoring some of the victims of 18-hour siege on a Nairobi hotel and office complex.

    The al-Shabab attack killed 21 people, including six from the same company [Andrew Renneisen/Getty]
    The al-Shabab attack killed 21 people, including six from the same company [Andrew Renneisen/Getty]

    A memorial service has been held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday for some of the victims of last week's deadly hotel and office complex attack.

    Twenty-one people were killed last Tuesday when gunmen from the al-Qaeda-linked armed group, al-Shabab, raided the upscale DusitD2 complex.

    Cellulant, an online payment company headquartered at the compound which was attacked, lost six of its employees in the siege.

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    "Ashford was a dear brother to me," Alex Kimani, a colleague of Ashford Kuria, who died in the attack, said during the memorial service.

    "He mentored many directly and indirectly. He challenged each and every one to grow. He was our go-to guy when you had a problem or needed a solution to solve anything," Kimani added.

    Hundreds attended the church service for the Cellulant employees that honoured what the memorial programme described as "The Brave Six".

    It said 17 staff members tried to flee the office during the January 15 attack but were met with a "barrage of gunfire". 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday that the attackers behind the siege which lasted for more than 18 hours were killed.

    Since then the Kenyan government has taken measures to find anyone connected to the assault, and prevent further attacks.

    Suspects arrested

    Security forces raided premises and picked up suspects soon after the siege ended. Since last Tuesday, at least eleven people have been taken into custody in connection with the attack.

    Five of them appeared before a Nairobi court. The court ordered the four Kenyans and one Canadian national to be held in custody for 30 days to give prosecutors time to conclude their probe.

    Homegrown threat

    Four of the five attackers captured on CCTV at the scene of the raid have been identified as Kenyan nationals, including what is believed to be the first Kenyan to be involved in a suicide attack on home soil.

    Security officials named 25-year-old Mombasa-born Mahir Khalid Riziki as the individual who blew himself up outside the Secret Garden Cafe.

    In previous major attacks by al-Shabab in the east African country of 50 million people, the assailants were all believed to be foreigners.

    Arming guards

    Following the siege, Nairobi announced that private security officers guarding public spaces such as malls, supermarkets and private premises, will be given guns for the first time.

    The government said they will be given six months of intensive and compulsory training before being issued with firearms.

    New attack

    Eight gunmen suspected of belonging to al-Shabab attacked a Chinese construction site between the northern towns of Garissa and Wajir on Sunday evening.

    The regional police chief David Kerina said an attack on a second site was thwarted.

    At least 45 workers were at the first attack. The company is building a highway in northern Kenya. 

    All have been accounted for, according to police, adding that the attack was successfully repulsed.

    Two people, a security guard and his wife, were wounded in the raid.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies