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Untouchable? Pinewood Hotel Attackers Raise Questions as Justice Remains Elusive

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Property worth millions was destroyed and tens of staff members injured by the armed goons- most of whom can be easily identified on the hotel’s CCTV footage.

The Government was on Wednesday put on the spot, for failing to act following the brutal daylight attack on Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa in Diani, Kwale County, months after the incident. .

Despite assurances from Tourism Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua and police, suspects captured on CCTV footage and the mastermind of the attack are yet to be brought to book.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association Chief Executive Officer Julius Owino said lack of action will dent the image of an already fragile sector that is yet to fully recover after the Global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Up to now, there is nothing that has been done. No formal arrests or prosecution has been made. It paints a picture that someone can just walk in (a facility) and beat up staff and nothing will happen,” he said.

“Those people who attacked Pinewood hotel and staff should be arrested and prosecuted. We are being told that the file is up for closure for alleged lack of evidence. You don’t have to be a lawyer to pin down the people behind this. It happened during the day in full glare of the cameras.”

He has called on Director of Criminal Investigations Amin Mohammed to take up the case, saying local authorities have failed to ensure justice has been served.

“Closure means justice and not closing the file,” he said. “People sustained injuries from the attack and some have been living in fear since then.”

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, Owino called on the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to act, in a bid to restore confidence to tourism investors.

“Unfortunately, which is a very sad state of affairs, despite assurances including by the Tourism Cabinet Secretary, nothing has happened. We must stop this,” he said.

He revealed that the hotel had cancellations from tourists following the incident.

“We call upon the DCI to take up this matter now,” he asserted. “The DPP seems to be dropping the ball.”

The attack, which received condemnation across the country, occurred on November 17 last year, and was linked to an attempted forceful takeover by a bank receiver, despite an existing court order barring the move.

At the time of the incident, the luxurious hotel was hosting dozens of tourists from across the world.

Property worth millions was destroyed and tens of staff members injured by the armed goons- most of whom can be easily identified on the hotel’s CCTV footage.

The hotel owner and Managing Director Alnoor Kanji linked the incident and a couple others still targeting the hotel, to a receiver manager appointed by the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

“Violent attacks that endanger our lives and hinder our ability to safely operate our business cannot become commonplace. This should never happen again to any place of business in this country,” he said

The hotel owners are in court with KCB, in a suit challenging the intended takeover.

“Their goal was to destroy, pillage and kill,” Kanji said of the November 17 incident.

“The attackers overwhelmed us from the main gate and beach. They beat our staff and robbed our guests in broad daylight.”

A similar incident had occurred in early August, 2023 at the facility.

“We are grateful that no one was killed,” he said.

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