Kenyans applaud dusitD2 reopening six months after horrific attack

The Ghetto Classics team at the dusitD2 hotel on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
The Ghetto Classics team at the dusitD2 hotel on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kenyans rallied behind dusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi as it reopened its doors to the public on Thursday, six months after the horrific attack at the complex.

Most took to social media praising the hotel management for standing tall in the face of terrorism.

“Just like the phoenix has risen from the ashes!” one Jackson Wambugu said as Lawrence Kinuthia added: “You have won against the enemy. To the sky you’ll climb again.”

Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Alison Chartres also chimed in saying: “Courage and resilience was again on display in Kenya today at a moving event to mark the reopening of the dusitD2.”

Emma Too, a former top model added: “dusitD2 is back! May you never have another dark moment. May God protect you from selfish deluded individuals who use his name in vain. May those who lost their lives Rest In Peace, May they kindly put in a good word so that guardian angels watch over Dusit.”

At a ceremony on Wednesday ahead of the hotel reopening, an orchestra played and motorcycle outriders accompanied runners led by 800 metre world record holder David Rudisha who carried the hotel’s flag from the airport.

The flag had been flown in six countries to honour hotel staff who died in the gun and suicide bomber attack that involved at least five attackers.

“The raising of the dusitD2 flag marks the end of the journey that began when the dusitD2 Nairobi flag was hoisted at six dusitD2 properties including Bangkok, Bhutan, China, Dubai and has finally come back home,” Michael Metaxas, dusitD2 general manager, said at the event.

The hotel, part of Thai hotel group Dusit Thani is housed within the dusitD2 complex.  The complex was also home to offices of companies including Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Pernod Ricard.

It was not immediately clear how many firms maintained their offices at the complex following the attack.

Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala said he was upbeat about the tourism sector, forecasting a 10percent growth in both arrivals and revenues over last year’s figures of just over two million visitors and Ksh. 157.4billion earnings.

“The spirit and the strength of Kenyans is back,” he said.

Nairobi is a major hub for expatriates working in East Africa and in addition to the hotel the complex hosted offices of various international companies.

The attack was an echo of a deadly 2013 assault at the Westgate Shopping Mall in the same neighbourhood.

Additional report from Reuters

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