A fire and sustained gunfire sent workers fleeing for their lives at an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday afternoon, Reuters witnesses said.
One man came out covered in blood as students were evacuated from a nearby university building. Four ambulances and a fire truck arrived at the scene as fleeing office workers told Reuters colleagues were still huddled under their desks.
Three cars were ablaze by the entrance and a picture of the hotel grounds on Twitter showed what appeared to be a human a leg lying on the path.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the incident. Nairobi suffers from violent robberies but has also been targeted by Somali Islamist militants, who killed dozens of people in a shopping center in 2013 and nearly 150 students at a university in 2015.
Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery.
But police are not ruling out a militant attack, spokesman Charles Owino told Citizen Television.
“We have to go for the highest incident that could take place. The highest incident we have is a terror (attack),” he said.
“I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,” a woman working in a bank near the hotel said. She also heard two explosions.
“We are under attack,” another person in an office inside the complex told Reuters, then hung up. A large plume of Smoke could be seen rising from the area.