Tourism stakeholders raise safety concerns after attack at Pinewood Beach Resort

A section of the staff at Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa called for the arrest of hired goons who stormed the premises and attacked their colleagues. [Courtesy]

Tourism stakeholders have raised safety concerns after colleagues sustained injuries following an attack at the Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa in Diani Kwale County.

In a statement on Sunday, the hotel owner and Managing Director Alnoor Kanji the attack by hired goods had sent fear among guests who might shy away.

While accusing a receiver-manager of a local bank of being behind the violent attack, Kanji said the attack which is a second incident risks crippling the business, currently hosting tens of tourists from across the world.

Kanji said guests who were at the facility during the November 17 incident lost their valuables of unknown amounts.

According to him, although no one was killed in the incident, local police were forced to fire in the air to de-escalate the situation, which left many injured.

“Without the protection of armed police and the courage of our staff, this may not have been the case. Tourist police had to intervene with gunfire while our staff were forced to fight the attackers head-on,” read part of the statement.

In online videos, a group of youth are seen alighting from two Nissan matatus who are then given instructions by three men who had traveled in a different personal vehicle.

Within minutes, the armed youth are seen pelting stones and forcing their way through the gate of the premises before attacking several staff who tried to block them.

On seeing how the violence was escalating, the guests who were on the premises are seen scampering for safety.

The hotel is at the center of a legal dispute, as Kenya Commercial Bank seeks to take over its management, but has since been restrained by a High Court sitting in Mombasa until the case challenging its intended move is heard and determined.

In an order issued by Justice Peter Mulwa, the court set January 9, 2024, as the mention date for the case.

“We fear that despite attaining a clear court injunction to prevent any party from taking over, they will continue to unlawfully and forcefully gain possession,” he said.

KCB is among several banks that are grappling with loan defaults as a result of the current harsh economic times.

Since the campaign period in 2022, the amount of bad loans has gone up nearly 20 percent or Sh90 billion to Sh586.2 billion, sending shockwaves in the banking industry when it almost touched Sh600 billion in May 2023.

As a result, several banks quickly reacted in different ways with some opting to seize businesses and recover their funds, resulting in court fights as businesses fought back ferociously.

KCB Bank has been one of the most aggressive in safeguarding shareholders' value by going after recoveries.

The lender has seized English Point Marina, Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa and, together with Absa Kenya, sought to take over Savannah Cement.

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