Tourists association calls on DCI intervention after Pinewood Hotel attack

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]

Police in Kwale have been put in a spot for failing to act following a daylight attack on Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa in Diani, 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.

In a press briefing in Nairobi, Owino called on Director of Criminal Investigations Amin Mohammed to take up the case, saying local authorities have failed to ensure justice has been served.

“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 the full glare of the cameras,” Owino said.

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

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.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association Chief Executive Officer Julius Owino during a press briefing on March 7, 2024. [Courtesy]

Owino said as a result of the incident, the hotel had experienced several cancellations a shred of clear evidence that tourists are afraid of another possible attack.

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

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 were injured by the armed goons.

The hotel owner and Managing Director Alnoor Kanji linked the incident and a couple of 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.

“The attackers overwhelmed us from the main gate and beach.  They beat our staff and robbed our guests in broad daylight with an intent to destroy, pillage and kill,” Kanji said of the November 17 incident.

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

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