NAIROBI, KENYA —
Seven people have been arrested following Tuesday's terror attack at the DusitD2 complex in Nairobi that killed at least 21 people, Kenyan media reported.
Five suspects appeared in court Friday, and Kenyan security agencies are seeking more suspects in the attack claimed by al-Shabab. Officers requested the four men and one woman be detained for 30 days while an investigation is completed.
Authorities searched a house northwest of Nairobi on Thursday, where one suspect is believed to have lived.
Neighborhood butcher Paul Kariuki was shocked to find out the suspect — Salim Guchunge — had visited his shop many times.
"I could not believe he did that," Kariuki said. "I am surprised."
But not all Guchunge's neighbors are rushing to judgment.
"It's quite uncertain," said one woman, who did not wish to be identified. "It's quite shocking. It was very unexpected. … he was also on our WhatsApp group for the estate [and] has made a contribution toward some of the activities and projects we have."
The suspect's last message to the group was a comment on improving neighborhood security.
Somali terrorist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.
Security analyst Mwenda Mbijiwe says the militant group is changing tactics to use so-called sleeper cells within Kenya.
"They were able to camouflage and hide to stay among that community without anybody ever detecting that these people are living in our midst," Mbijiwe said.
Nairobi's Eastleigh neighborhood, which has a large ethnic Somali population, is sometimes vilified as a haven for terrorists. But on Friday, Nairobi's Somali community rallied in a show of solidarity against terrorism.
Crowds chanted "We will defeat them!" and shops closed their doors for an hour to honor victims of the attack.
"We feel that we stand together with the rest of Kenyans. We are part and parcel of Kenya," said Yusuf Hassan, a Somali-Kenyan lawmaker. "The problems of Kenya [are] our problems, the successes of Kenya are our successes. And we cannot be separated as a community and, therefore, the community is here to say no terrorism, no to extremism."