In Summary
  • The lesson is that tact, speed, proper coordination and effective communication are germane to diminishing the impact of such violence.
  • The President must ensure that the administration prioritises security through adequate funding, resourcing and technological upgrade to guarantee the safety of Kenyans.

When the government called off the rescue operation at the Dusit complex yesterday morning after the tragic terrorist attack on Tuesday, there was a sense of triumph despite adversity.

Kenya had overcome its worst and looked ahead with courage and resolve to flourish in spite of its tribulations.

Statistically, at least 700 people were rescued in an operation that took about 12 hours and the gangsters neutered.

Fatalities were relatively lower; they have been quite high in the past.


Which is not to gloat, but make the point that Kenya has the capacity to win the war on terror; that the dark forces hell-bent on inflicting pain and damage cannot vanquish a nation and a people committed to the ultimate good of humanity.

Any life lost or injury inflicted is not acceptable and must be prevented at all costs.

But there were positives, nonetheless. Security teams were well-coordinated under the General Service Unit; there was a centralised chain of command and reasonably organised public communication inasmuch as the messaging was thin on details.

Civilian response was overwhelming and demonstrated our resilience and determination to defeat criminals.

Clearly, lessons had been learnt over the past decades that the country had been confronted by violence perpetrated by radicalised gangs.


Past experiences have been traumatic. For example, rescue operations during the Westgate Mall attack in 2013 went on for three nights and were largely bungled because of poor coordination.

Some 67 people were killed and dozens severely injured. GSU, which had initially commenced the rescue and who are known to best handle internal operations, were removed and replaced by the military, who normally deal with external aggression.

A similar situation obtained during the Garissa University College invasion of 2015 that caused 147 deaths, mostly of students, and many injuries as well as destruction of property.

The lesson is that tact, speed, proper coordination and effective communication are germane to diminishing the impact of such violence.


However, reports about the identity of the masterminds of the heinous act on Riverside Drive, Nairobi, paint a familiar tactic.

One of the suspects lived in a Kiambu neighbourhood, where he participated in communal activities and pretended to be sociable, yet remained secretive, with his personal details unknown.

Further, some of the suspects were frequent visitors to Dusit and patronised the restaurant, which gave them an opportunity to study and understand the environment and plan their mischief.

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