The Al-Shabaab militants took months organizing the deadly Dusit D2 Hotel attack in Nairobi, a UN report by experts has revealed.
During the planning, the report says, the militants opted for local terrorists who understood Nairobi well.
Before the attack, almost Sh5 million was used to facilitate the terrorists, key among them Salim Gichunge and his wife Violet Wambui.
The attack left 26 people dead. Security forces took over six hours to eliminate the terrorists, who had entered Kenya from Somalia at different times through Mandera.
“A conservative estimate of the total cost of the DusitD2 operation was between USD45,000 and USD50,000 (Sh4 million and Sh5 million),” the experts suggest.
According to the report, the militants preferred criminals who mastered the Kenyan security network well thus their choice of Guchunge.
“The possession of criminal skills, including knowledge of evading law enforcement, are privileged over ideology or affiliation with certain mosques or religious networks,” report says.
“Unusually for a Kenyan operative within al-Shabaab,” the report notes, “Gichunge was given wide discretion and autonomy over the particulars of the plot — including the selection of the target — rather than being directly overseen from within Somalia.”
Osman Ibrahim Gedi, another terrorist killed by the forces, was a key link for Gichunge while coordinating the attack.
The assault on the Dusit complex began at 3.28pm East African time on January 15 when a third Kenyan, Mombasa-born Mahir Khalid Riziki, detonated a suicide bomb, the report recounts.
Siyat Omar Abdi, a Somali born in the Dadaab refugee complex in 1992, was among the gunmen who stormed the hotel. Mr Omar had stayed in Dadaab refugee camp for years.
Also implicated in the Dusit attack is Abdi Ali Mohamed, a Kenyan national based in Mandera. He used three phone numbers to transmit almost Sh70,000 to Shabaab cell leader Gichunge via M-Pesa, the report states.
The report points out cases of recruitment, dragging Majid Musa Mosque in Mombasa as an avenue for training and radicalization of the Kenyan youths.
The January attack was the major in Kenyan soil since 2014. In between, the militants have killed Kenyan troops in AMISOM key among them being El Adde raid.