19 people remain unaccounted for two days after Somali militants attacked the 14 Riverside hotel and business complex in Nairobi, the Red Cross has said.
The revelation now raises the possibility of a considerably higher death toll than 21 as was reported by government agencies.
On Wednesday night Police Chief Joseph Boinnet, said that six additional bodies were retrieved from the attack site with one police officer succumbing to injuries while undergoing treatment.
16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American national and three persons of African descent who are yet to be identified.
Al Shabaab said it carried out the assault on the upscale 14 Riverside compound over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a two-page statement claiming responsibility for the attack, al Shabaab did not spell out why it had chosen to hit Kenya over Trump’s December 2017 decision on Jerusalem.
It said the attack was “a response to the witless remarks of U.S. president, Donald Trump, and his declaration”, and that it was targeting “Western and Zionist interests worldwide and in support of our Muslim families in Palestine”.
Asked about the claim, a White House National Security Council spokesman said in a statement: “This senseless act is a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat radical Islamist terrorism.”
The bloody bodies of five attackers were broadcast across social media as Kenyatta announced the end of the siege, which echoed a 2013 al Shabaab assault that killed 67 people in the Westgate shopping center in the same district.
16 Kenyans, an American survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States and a British development worker were among the dead in the 14 Riverside attack, Nairobi police chief Joseph Boinnet said. Three persons of African descent are yet to be identified.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday evening that a 20-hour siege had ended with security forces killing all the Somali militants who had stormed the hotel complex.
The Red Cross had on Wednesday afternoon put the number of those unaccounted for at 50.
In a statement some hours later, it said the number of people still unaccounted for had dropped to 19.
Kenya, the East African hub for multinational companies and the United Nations, became a frequent target for al Shabaab after Kenya sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in 2011 to try to create a buffer zone along its border.
SOURCE: MKARIMU MEDIA AND NEWS AGENCIES