Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
Cc: Mwananchi Mwananchi
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:30 AM
Subject: [Wananchi] Re: [Mwanyagetinge] ANGRY
Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 3:45 PM
Subject: [Mwanyagetinge] ANGRY
― Malcolm X
Hard questions Kenyans want answered after Westgate terror attack
Updated Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 17:15 GMT +3
By Digital Reporter
Nairobi, Kenya: Kenyans have asked prodding questions directed at government authorities and demanded for answers which the State has avoided answering since the Saturday massacre.
Without a detailed blow by blow account of what transpired at the upscale shopping mall, questions were fired from the citizens as well as a section of members of the National Assembly even as State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu ducked some questions from the media.
From questions about the effectiveness of the National Intelligence Service, to how the sophisticated, well planned and executed massacre happened and why it was not prevented dominated discussions online and on FM radio stations.
Members of the public spoke as the media awaited government briefing on the progress of investigations from the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku later Wednesday afternoon.
Their questions exposed how the Jubilee Government communicated incoherently at times contradicting each other.
Kenyans are also demanding to be furnished with the official death toll of the massacre especially the number of people buried in the mall after it was taken over by security forces. Some are demanding to be shown bodies and pictures of the terrorists arrested and those killed.
Below are some of the Tough questions:
1. How many people are still unaccounted for?
2. How many terrorists were involved in the attack? Are they all accounted for?
3. Amb Amina Mohammed said there was at least one female terrorist whom she identified as a Briton. Interior Cabinet Secretary Ole Lenku in a press briefing said they were all men. Could you clarify? Was Samantha Lewthwaite one of the attackers?
4. What of the reports the at least one terrorist escaped from Westgate? Again, Amb Amina Mohammed in her Al Jazeera English interview suggested some might have hidden among hostages and escaped. Who were the people arrested in JKIA? Were any of them in Westgate? Will any arrested terrorists be put on trial here or handed over to other states?
5. Are there any terrorists on the loose in the city who are yet to be captured?
6. Will there be an inquiry into the attack to identify potential improvements to intelligence and security? What powers of investigative authority will the group tasked with the inquiry be given?
7. Was fire on terrace started by terrorists to burn hostages and swap identities? How many escaped?
8. Will the findings be made public after the investigations?
9. What of the cars that dropped the attackers at Westgate? Are the cars still there? If not, are they being pursued? (I don’t want to delete someone elses question, I simply ask that you kindly consider this -> https://twitter.com/PoliceKE/status/382505737421070337 ) - @mwirigi
10. Who owns the Westgate Mall building? Have they been taken in for questioning?
11. There are reports of the attackers renting a store at the mall. Are these reports true and is the landlord being pursued for information on the same? Have they arrested the staff for questioning?
12.Ten suspects have been arrested for questioning. Are they part of the attackers? Are we still safe?
13. What is the security forces’ explanation to the story of the escaped hostage who says one of the gunmen blended with them and walked out as a hostage?
14. When did the terrorists get into the country? How? Where? How soon will you be able to determine this?
15. If the delay in using brute force to overcome the gunmen by Sunday morning was because there were hostages whose lives the authorities wanted to save, how many hostages were saved since Sunday Morning?
16. If it really was just about the attack, why keep hostages alive for three days...why not just kill everyone and blow the building up?
17. Do the police have access to architectural plans of Westgate and the air vents checked to ensure no terrorist is hiding?
18. Was there anyway to assess those rescued like a debrief room where details were recorded ( i.e. biographical data, contacts etc)?. How do we know who was there?
19. In the last government, there were many rumours that Kenyan Passports and Id’s were being sold for Sh300,000 . Is it possible to inspect and record how many of them were undeserving and recall them and/or deport or arrest those who own them? Also, Is it possible to use this evidence to jail those responsible for selling our country?
20. Was the CCTV footage made available to the police?
21. Why was the IG Kimaiyo asking for pictures to be sent to him on Twitter?
22. How many hostage takers have been killed?
23. When will a report by NSIS be made public with an analysis of the security situation prior and after the attack? Were we caught by surprise? If so,why? Did we know or at least suspect something like this? If so, what did we do to try averting the same? And most important, what’s the security position now?
25. In times of disasters and any such tragedies, why can't we have a clear command structure to ensure that orders and coordination comes from one person and thereby eliminate the possibility of terrorist gelling with victims and escaping so easily?
26. Why was there conflicting information from different government sources?
28. What is the role of Rachel Omamo in the security military operation?
29.Were Kenyan Forces in control of CCTV control room by 11am Tuesday morning?
30. Can we see the bodies of the “neutralized” terrorists?
31. What do we stand to gain by KDF being in Somalia?
33. Is it true that Samantha Lewthwaite aka White Widow bribed to avoid a jail term ? Who did she bribe? Where is she? What does she know?
34. Samantha Lewthwaite has been to Kenya twice (In 2011 and 2012). How did she stroll through our airports undetected? She’s been on FBI’s and Interpol’s watch list since 20.
35. Why won't they tell us how many hostages were rescued or where they were taken to? Why is there so much secrecy?
36. Did the Kenyan military have access to the basement parking by Tuesday 11am?
38. Every crime has a fixer. How is it possible that someone can procure such a huge cache of arms and ship it without our NSIS knowing? If the arms were imported, what are we doing to secure our borders?
39. Somalia. Let’s talk about Kenya’s invasion of Somalia. Are we finally paying for this? And if so, how can we be sure that victory is ours when victory for now just means reclaiming Westgate? What about the future?
40. Why is Kenya a terrorist target for the ninth time? What have we done? More importantly, why is the Government not able to protect its citizens? For how long will we react instead of preventing?
41. Ole Lenku said fire that started on Monday was caused by mattresses being torched by terrorists. Some time before, he had claimed that the terrorists had been “contained” in a section in one of the “upper floors”. If this is true, how did the terrorists gain entry into Nakumatt on the second floor? Better yet, isn’t Nakumatt on the ground floor in Westgate mall?
44. Why didn’t the government jam telephone network and ask service providers to block signals to Nairobi area once the magnitude was clear on day 2?
45. The public have a right to know how many citizens were killed. Fudging information won’t help. Also, information on terrorists caught, killed, and those who escaped. Will we be told the truth?
51. Are there underground tunnels eg sewage ducts at the mall that could act as passageways?
52. What do MPs and “national politicians” gain by insisting that the terrorists did not have a religious angle to their approach (even if misconceived)? Are politicians being genuine, naive or simply avoiding to explore the root cause?
53. Why would a 27-year-old soldier who has served for only 4 years be detailed to undertake an operation of that magnitude?
55. How safe are our borders?
56. What caused the floors to collapse?
62. How many children died?
65. Why did it take more than 30 minutes for the security system to get activated and act from the time the first distress signal was sent?
TODAY | September 25, 2013
Mall survivor: I was rescued by American security forceshttp://www.today.com/video/today/53101428/#53101428
TODAY | September 25, 2013
Mall survivor: I was rescued by American security forces
Bendita Malakia, a 30-year old World Bank employee, said she was certain she was rescued from Kenya’s Westgate mall siege -- where there was gunfire and even grenades -- by American security forces who led her out to safety. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.
Exclusive video shows chaos of Kenya mall attack
The new images from the inside the Westgate Mall in Kenya are sobering: a family playing dead to avoid harm, shoppers escaping, and a child being carried to safety. More than 60 people died in the terrorist attack, most of them civilians. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.
From: Jagem K'Onyiego
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 4:36 PM
Subject: Re: [PK] Re: THIS what is called a banana republic/ deny it and pay with your life.
Kenya info blackout? Extraordinary lack of detail about Westgate seige
How many really died? Why no mugshots of militants? Where are the hostages? Why no blow-by-blow? Why no clear information from Kenyatta?
Even as President Uhuru Kenyatta was giving his televised address on Tuesday, telling the world that the siege of Nairobi’s Westgate mall was over, Kenya’s "netizens" were celebrating.
With the hashtag #WeAreOne, praise for President Kenyatta, the Kenya Defense Forces, the police and the Red Cross swamped Twitter and other social media, as did elegies for the 61 civilians and six security officers the president said died during the assault.
Soon, however, the tone had noticeably hardened: “SO. MANY. QUESTIONS” tweeted @kenyanpundit. Others pointed out that Kenya's authorities had “not provided a single mugshot of the attackers,” as did @bonifacemwangi.
By Wednesday, a list of 85 questions drawn up by Kenyan citizens was doing the rounds online, demanding answers from their government that was either unable nor unwilling to clarify fundamental aspects of the 80-hour ordeal.
During the Tuesday speech, Kenyatta did not clarify the final number of people who died. He said 61 civilians, six troops and five attackers were dead but did not spell out if that was in addition to a Kenya Red Cross toll of 62 already counted fatalities.
A further 71 people are registered missing, the charity said Wednesday.
More bodies, including those of the militants, were buried in rubble where a portion of the Westgate Shopping Mall collapsed in the last hours of the siege, Kenyatta said. But he was unable to say how many attackers there were, or how they ferried apparently large amounts of ammunition or conspicuously heavy weapons into the four-story mall.
Perhaps most disturbingly for those still waiting for news of missing loved ones, he did not mention the word “hostage” once in his 15-minute address.
Early reports from the mall siege gave the impression that there were perhaps dozens of people being held after the first waves of hundreds who managed to escape as the attackers took over the complex.
The Kenya Red Cross established an emergency field hospital in the basement car park of a Hindu community hall, to “be prepared for many injured”, according to Rashmi Shah, one of the center's managers.
In the event, fewer than 10 people were treated there, and most of those were soldiers. By Tuesday, the triage hospital unit was shut.
Now among the most urgent questions that has been raised: “Where are the hostages?”
Critics are raising allegations against national intelligence and security forces of how such a heavily armed band of foreigners was allowed to enter Kenya, and then to transfer their arsenal into the guarded mall.
"My position, and the police will investigate this, is that there was a very serious lapse in security, which may have gone on for six months,” said Laban Onditi Rao, vice-chairman of the Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce, who was communicating with the mall's owners and security staff during the siege.
"There is the idea that they hired a shop there, and that would give them accessibility all over the mall, and would allow some of them to pass security easily because they would be known," he said.
Responding to this, Manoah Esipisu, Kenya’s presidential spokesman, said late Tuesday that, “we’re leaving nothing to chance" in the investigation, including whether the militant gang had rented a shop at Westgate, or that they had an insider helping them.
As demands for answers to still unexplained aspects of the assault grew on Wednesday, Mr. Esipisu’s phone was switched off.
One Kenyatta administration official said that “there seems to be a shutdown of information” within the government, and no real details are getting out to its citizens. The official requested anonymity to speak candidly about internal government operations.
Meanwhile, US, Israeli and British forensics experts were preparing to enter the mall to help Kenyan authorities assess what is now a vast crime scene. It is expected that their inquiries will continue for at least a week.
“We will provide additional assistance in the coming days to investigate this attack and to bring its organizers and perpetrators to justice,” said Robert Godec, the US ambassador to Kenya. “We will continue to work together with Kenya to stop the scourge of terrorism.”
Kenyatta said that “we cannot confirm the details at present” of reports that two American citizens and a Briton were among the attackers.
By the end of Wednesday in Nairobi, a new hashtag had emerged, #WeAreOne_dering.
U.S. Agents Already Sifting Rubble of Kenya Mall Attack
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“Nothing is being ruled out,” noted State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu regarding whether the woman could be among the dead hostage takers in the mall’s rubble.
Lewthwaite got her nickname from the British press after her husband, Germaine Maurice Lindsay, was named as one of the four suicide bombers in the deadly London “7/7” attacks on the subway system in 2005. And although she initially condemned his actions, she went missing shortly thereafter, arousing suspicions, and later emerged as a terrorist suspect in her own right.
According to BBC journalist Peter Taylor, who just returned from Kenya, Lewthwaite has become a sort of “mythological figure,” adding, “If she is dead, then she would have achieved the kind of martyrdom that her husband, Germaine Lindsay, achieved.”
Still, some doubt that she could have played a role in the mall siege, as female involvement in such an attack would be "very unusual," according to CNN security analyst Peter Bergen. "Typically these groups are misogynist," he said. "Their view is the woman should be in a home and shrouded in a body veil."
More on Yahoo: Terrorists Claim 137 Killed in Kenya Mall Attack
So why do so many speculate that Lewthwaite was involved? Here’s what we know about the 29-year-old mother of three (or four):
Her childhood. Born in Buckinghamshire, England, to British soldier Andy Lewthwaite and Christine Allen, Samantha spent much of her early life in the town of Aylesbury and in Northern Ireland. A local politician in Aylesbury, Raj Khan, who knew her family socially, told the BBC that he is surprised at the idea of her involvement in Kenya — especially speculation that puts her in a leadership role. “She was an average, British, young, ordinary girl. She had a very great personality. She didn’t have very good confidence,” he said. “She was not strong-headed. And that’s why I find it absolutely amazing that she is supposed to be the head of an international criminal terrorist organization,” he said.
Her conversion. Lewthwaite converted to Islam when she was a teenager, with the aid of a local Muslim family she befriended, according to the BBC. She stood out at school after that, teacher Novid Shaid told the radio network. “She seemed to be really proud wearing the hijab; there was a bubbly feeling around her,” he said, adding that, eventually, “we noticed her wearing the full jalabiya [robe], which some converts tend to do when they become more serious,” he said. She then studied religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London for two months.
Her marriage. The teenager met Lindsay in an Islamic Internet chat room, according to the BBC. They married after a few months, made their home in Aylesbury, and soon had a child together. Reports say that she had two or three more children after the birth of her second one, in 2005.
Her link to the London bombings. Lindsay, a Jamaican native and Islamic convert who became a radical terrorist, was one of four people who set off bombs in the subways, killing 56 people, including themselves. Pregnant at the time with their second child, Lewthwaite, then just 21, condemned her husband's actions as "abhorrent” and told the Sun, “How these people could have turned him and poisoned his mind is dreadful. He was an innocent, naïve and simple man. I suppose he must have been an ideal candidate.” Shortly thereafter, she disappeared.
Her reemergence. Lewthwaite has been wanted by Kenyan police on terrorist charges since 2011, for allegedly plotting an attack on “Western targets” in Kenya, reported the Telegraph. She was believed to be on the run in East Africa, possibly with Habib Ghani, who might have been married to her. The two were charged for allegedly working closely with Jermaine Grant (currently on trial in Kenya) when police discovered their bombing plots. Lewthwaite vanished. Earlier this month, Ghani reportedly died in an ambush outside of Mogadishu after fleeing Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab — the same group claiming responsibility for the latest Kenya attack.
Her ties to South Africa. Lewthwaite used an assumed South African identity to take out bank loans and rent property in Johannesburg, eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) reported Wednesday. Using the known alias Natalie Faye Webb, she rented at least three properties around Johannesberg (though it was unclear whether she ever lived there), ran up debts of $8,600, and used the fake passport to enter Kenya in 2011.
Her alleged blog. Though unsubstantiated, reports in 2012 claimed Lewthwaite was behind a telling blog post (since removed from the Internet) called “Fears and Tears: Confessions of a Female Mujahid,” posted on the site of Muslim Youth Centre, a Kenyan ally of al-Shaabab. In it, the anonymous writer warned, “Fear can make you do many things,” and wrote, “My decision to revert [sic] to Islam is the most precious gift that my maker has bestowed upon me.”
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Kenya mall siege 'over' but death toll unclear
James Macharia and Duncan Miriri 23 hours ago
By James Macharia and Duncan Miriri
NAIROBI (Reuters) - As Kenya began three days of mourning on Wednesday for at least 67 people killed in the siege of a Nairobi mall, it was unclear how many more hostages may have died with the Somali Islamist attackers buried in the rubble.
Declaring final victory over the al Qaeda-linked gunmen from al Shabaab who stormed the Westgate shopping center on Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that three floors in a part of the mall had collapsed near the end of the operation, leaving an unknown number of bodies under steel and concrete.
It was not clear what caused the structure to come down.
Five militants had been shot dead, Kenyatta said, and six security personnel died in the four days of fighting.
Sixty-one civilians had so far been confirmed dead, Kenyatta added. Kenyan officials declined to say how many of 63 people whom the Red Cross had earlier classed as unaccounted for may also have died in a showdown with guerrillas, who had threatened to kill their hostages and go down fighting.
Eleven people suspected of involvement with the well-planned and executed assault were in custody, the Kenyan president added. But he did not say how many, if any, were gunmen taken alive and how many may have been people arrested elsewhere.
It was also unclear whether intelligence reports of American or British gunmen would be confirmed. Al Shabaab denied that any women took part, after British sources said the fugitive widow of one of the 2005 London suicide bombers might have some role.
The shattered mall, an imposing, Israeli-built symbol of a new prosperity for some in Africa while many remain mired in poverty, lay largely silent overnight, after days of gunfire, explosions and bloodshed.
"The operation is now over," Kenyatta told Kenyans in a televised address. "We have ashamed and defeated our attackers."
He announced three days of national mourning.
BODIES IN RUBBLE
Police said the attackers, who devastated restaurants and shops at a busy Saturday lunchtime, spraying bullets and grenades at Kenyans and foreigners, were now either dead or in custody.
"Now it is for the forensic and criminal experts," said a police spokesman, Masoud Mwinyi.
Some of the 63 people reported to the Red Cross as still missing may simply not have been at the mall, or may have later made it home without the agency being made aware. But some, at least, appear to have been held hostage.
"There are several bodies trapped in the rubble, including the terrorists," Kenyatta said. At the weekend, he had said there were between 10 and 15 militants holed up in the mall.
Several foreigners of many nationalities have already been named among the dead. The mall was a favorite with expatriates.
It is unclear how many foreigners may still be missing.
Survivors of the assault told tales of horror and narrow escapes. Some made it out after hours, even days, of hiding in terror. The uncle of one British four-year-old told the Sun newspaper his nephew had told a militant "You're a very bad man", as the gunman let some children and their mother go.
Officials said the raiders had set a major fire on Monday in a supermarket. On Tuesday, a thin trail of smoke drifted into a soggy sky as darkness fell, the result, rescue volunteers said, of soldiers detonating locked doors in a search for militants.
Police let some people retrieve cars they left behind when shoppers fled in panic. Journalists and others were kept well away behind a security cordon.
Kenyatta said he could not confirm intelligence reports of British and American militants, adding that forensic tests were being carried out to establish their nationalities. The government denied speculation that women were among the guerrillas, but said some had been dressed as women. That may have been a ploy to smuggle more weapons past mall guards.
It is unusual, if not unknown, for Islamist militants to use female fighters: "We have an adequate number of young men who are fully committed & we do not employ our sisters in such military operations #Westgate," al Shabaab said on Twitter.
It also dismissed comments by a Kenyan minister that two or three of the militants were young Somali or Arab Americans.
A British security source said it was possible that Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of Germaine Lindsay one of the London suicide bombers of July 7 2005, was involved in the Nairobi siege in some way. "It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or conclusive yet," the source said.
Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack expensive hotels and restaurants in Kenya.
Making no mention of gunmen still in the mall, al Shabaab also drew a link to the most recent Islamist attack in London, when a soldier was stabbed to death on a busy street in May in the suburb of Woolwich. Michael Adebolajo and a fellow British Muslim convert of Nigerian descent face trial for murder.
"It's an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth...' Remember Mujahid Adebolajo? This is what he meant. His was #Woolwich, #Westgate ours!" read another al Shabaab Twitter post.
"These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are," said Kenyatta.
He thanked other leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, for their support and used his address to praise the response of the Kenyan people and call for national unity, six months after his election was marked by ethnic tensions.
"Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed," he said.
Many Kenyans agree that the bloodshed has helped foster a greater sense of national unity.
"We are all talking about it. The one good thing is that the whole of Kenya has become one, except for al Shabaab," said Vipool Shah, who helped pull bodies out of the mall.
Kenyatta's focus on Kenya's troubles, and of his role in a global campaign against terrorism, was a reminder that he faces trial at The Hague in a few weeks time for crimes against humanity over violence that followed a 2007 election. The International Criminal Court adjourned the trial of his vice president this week because of the Westgate attack.
Kenyatta and his government have urged the ICC to drop the case and warm words for the Kenyan leadership from Western allies during the siege may have boosted their hopes that the court might be pressed to shelve proceedings in the interests of shoring up an important partner in the fight against al Qaeda.
The Nairobi attack came at a time when several violent Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria and Nigeria to Kenya have tapped into local grievances. But all have espoused an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed and are striking at state authority and international interests.
Regional intelligence experts believe the Nairobi raiders were members of a crack unit loyal to leader Ahmed Godane, who has been seeking to rebrand al Shabaab as a significant international jihadist group.
Al Shabaab had threatened revenge since Kenyan troops joined the war against Islamists in its chaotic northern neighbor two years ago. The group created funding, recruiting and training networks in Kenya. Kenyatta dismissed an al Shabaab demand to pull Kenyan troops from Somalia after the mall siege began.
The attack bears out Western concern that Somalia, a hotspot in the U.S.-led war on Islamist militants across the globe, may be a launchpad for strikes on regional countries even as African troops put them on the defensive in the Horn of Africa state.
Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said he believed the country - scene of one of al Qaeda's first big attacks, in 1998, when a bomb devastated the U.S. embassy in Nairobi - would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.
Somalia's prime minister appealed in Geneva for international support to combat al Shabaab, but said a military solution to their insurgency alone was not enough.
Abdi Farah Shirdon said: "We still have a difficult journey ahead of us. A military solution alone is not enough, promotion of rule of law, greater regional cooperation and economic stability and provision of public services are all key factors."
(Reporting by James Macharia, Duncan Miriri and Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Pascal Fletcher in Nairobi.; Writing by Edmund Blair and James Macharia.; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Christopher Wilson)
Westgate attack: Kenyan authorities on the spot over slip-ups
Updated Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 23:40 GMT +3
|Armoured personnel carriers leave Westgate area after the end of operation against terrorists. [PHOTO: standard]|
KENYA: Apparent contradictions in official accounts of the four-day siege on the Westgate Mall have put authorities on the spot.
A classic example was who started the fire that caused plumes of thick black smoke that billowed from the building on Monday. Initially, authorities claimed security forces had done it as a tactic but they later blamed it on the attackers.
At some point, senior government officials and security operatives contradicted each other in the open and then made belated alterations under the guise of ‘official information’.
As President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening addressed the nation and declared that “ Al-Shabaab are defeated”, his statement appeared to attempt to convince Kenyans and the world at large that the fierce battle to reclaim the mall was over.
The president’s message was that 67 people, including six soldiers, had been killed as a result of the attack on Westgate. He noted that five attackers had also been killed and 11 of them captured. According to the earlier figures, the number of those arrested was 16.
However, the Interior minister had earlier in the day stated that security agents had arrested 10 suspects for interrogation in connection to the Westgate attack.
It became difficult to verify the truth of the statements being released after the military drove away journalists covering the attack.
Claims that security forces had rescued people on Monday and Tuesday morning could not be verified after the government failed to release the figures. The media, which had camped only 300m from the gate, did not see any hostage being rescued as the number of those held by attackers remained unclear.
On Sunday, the government had estimated the number of hostages to be 30, including children, but the media was not given the actual figures as the rescue mission purportedly continued.
Only ambulances and military pick-ups could be seen driving up to the entrance doors before speeding off, raising anxiety that they were ferrying dead bodies.
The military said three floors caved in but the cause has not been established.
While addressing the press accompanied by Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo and Chief of Staff Major General Julius Karangi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku appeared to slip up on what appeared to be a rehearsed statement and suggested that the military was responsible for the fire before the two officers nudged him into recanting the statement, and blaming the fire on the terrorists.
President Kenyatta, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), announced on Tuesday evening that the siege was over, but added that the losses were “immense”.
But late on Monday, the Interior ministry on its Twitter handle had already declared the siege was over.
“We’re in control of Westgate,” read the tweet, about three-and-a-half days after Al-Shabaab militants stormed the mall.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu also said all hostages were believed to have been evacuated.
“Our special forces are inside the building checking the rooms. We think that everyone, the hostages, have been evacuated, but we do not want to take any chances,” he was quoted to have said.
“The hostages who were being held by the Mujahideen inside Westgate are still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive,” Al-Shabaab said in a message posted on its latest Twitter handle after an earlier one was pulled down.
Also on Tuesday morning, before the break of the stand-off, Kenyan police posted a message on Twitter saying they were diffusing explosives set up by the militants at the mall.
“We are doing a clean-up of explosives that had been set up by the terrorists,” Kenyan police said in a tweet.
“The Special Forces call this sanitising. At the moment, they have not met any resistance, but of course we are not ruling out the possibility that there are a couple of them hiding in a remote room or corner,” said Esipisu.
But fierce sporadic shooting erupted again on the same day – hours after officials had claimed the special forces were “in control” of the mall – and Al-Shabaab had also claimed to be still holding hostages.
As government authorities insisted it was in control, sporadic bursts could be heard again. Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Shabaab bragged in a Twitter message that their fighters were “still holding their ground”.
There were conflicting reports about the true identity of the attackers, six of whom are reported to have been killed by Kenyan special forces during the siege, and the number of those who were allegedly in custody.
No details have been given on the number of hostages freed, or those still being held, but 63 people were earlier recorded missing by the Kenya Red Cross. This figure was thought to include hostages as well as those possibly killed by their captors.
Another issue raised was the identity of the woman suspected to be the commander of the attackers. Witnesses said they saw a woman leading the militants, but the Interior minister said there was no woman even as the President acknowledged the presence of a woman.
On multiple occasions, Western security officials fear that several fighters slipped out of the mall during the mayhem of the attack, dropping their guns and disguising themselves as civilians, an account echoed by some witnesses.
Arrested Briton 'not significant' to Kenya attack probe
Updated Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 18:01 GMT +3
A British national arrested in Nairobi is "not of significant interest" to the investigation into the mall siege that killed at least 72 people, Britain's top diplomat in Kenya said on Wednesday.
The Foreign Office in London confirmed the comment by British High Commissioner Christian Turner, which had appeared on media websites, but provided no further details.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a 35-year-old Briton of Somali origin was arrested at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta airport as he attempted to leave Kenya on a Turkish Airlines flight.
A Foreign Office spokesman declined to comment on the details contained in the report, saying only that the British authorities were aware of the arrest of a Briton in the Kenyan capital and stood ready to provide consular assistance.
A Kenyan anti-terrorism police unit source also said a British citizen of Somali origin was detained after missing his flight at Nairobi airport, and was now being questioned. He gave no more details.
The Daily Mail said the man had attracted attention at the airport because he had bruising to his face, was wearing dark glasses and was behaving suspiciously.
The newspaper quoted Kenyan officials as saying the man's British passport appeared to be genuine and it contained a Kenyan visa, although there was no stamp indicating when and how he had entered the country.
The newspaper also said the man said under questioning that his facial injuries happened during a recent visit to Somalia.
Bomb disposal experts and investigators were searching through the wreckage of the Westgate shopping mall on Wednesday after a four-day confrontation with Islamist militants.
Mystery of 71 missing persons as Nairobi’s Westgate Mall siege ends
Updated Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 23:40 GMT +3
|How the attack happened|
NAIROBI; KENYA: Forensic investigators sifted through the rubble at the Westgate Mall as questions lingered about the fate of dozens reported missing at the end of the deadly four-day siege.
Authorities had indicated the terrorists had hostages inside the upscale shopping complex during the standoff, but authorities, curiously, appeared to avoid the matter or give inconclusive responses after prodding.
President Kenyatta on Tuesday night said three floors of the building had collapsed and “there were several bodies still trapped in the rubble including some terrorists.”
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said although some bodies could still be trapped in the rubble, the number of the dead “is not expected to increase significantly.”
Officially, 67 people — 61 civilians and six security agents — were killed during the attack after gunmen struck the shopping complex on Saturday morning firing indiscriminately at shoppers and staff.
But the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) reported a death toll of 69, and added 63 were recorded as missing. The Government has blamed the inconsistency on a possible “double count” by aid workers. However, the last update given by KRCS yesterday afternoon points out that “the number of persons reported to KRCS as missing has risen to 71.”
Other than being involved in forensics, according to the Times of Israel, the role of Israelis in the Westgate Mall situation has not been clear.
On Monday, Israeli defence officials confirmed a team was dispatched to Nairobi within hours of the hostage crisis, but said that armed fighting units were not part of the delegation.
On Wednesday morning, soldiers from Langata’s Maroon Commandos were among the last combat units to leave the mall after the final assault early Tuesday.
Other teams that took part in the operation were the Kenya Defence Forces’ 75 Artillery, 20 Para, 30 Special Forces and 40 Rangers Strike Force unit.
“We left behind a team of Israeli experts who came with small dogs with big ears to start carrying out forensic (investigation),” said a soldier involved in the final operation.
The terrorists are said to have stuffed most of the bodies in specific rooms that were close to the source of the fire and where part of the building caved in.
“It might take several days to retrieve some of the bodies that might have been trapped in the debris,” said another soldier.
On Tuesday after soldiers defeated the terrorists, one of the KDF soldiers described a “scene from a horror movie”.
“There was blood everywhere. Some bodies were burnt and others rotting,” he told The Standard. In some rooms, bodies were strewn on the floor, added the soldier, who declined to be named as he discussed the sensitive operation.
Yesterday, those who spoke to The Standard demanded a list of people killed or injured during the Westgate Mall siege. “Where can I go to find a complete list of Kenyans killed or injured at Westgate? I have a friend there that I have not heard from,” Ike Okafor enquired from The Standard last evening through e-mail.
Another mystery surrounds the terrorists – although officials estimated them at between 10 and 15, only five were reported killed after Special Forces stormed the building.
There are questions as to the whereabouts of the rest, although authorities say 10 suspects are in custody.
By the time we went to press yesterday, a loud explosion was reported in Wajir town. However, The Standard could not immediately confirm what caused the explosion.
Earlier yesterday, forensic experts scoured the debris at Westgate Mall to identify bodies and secure vital evidence. Foreign teams from Israel, US, Canada, Germany and UK joined the operation.
Authorities said the priority was debris clearance to facilitate immediate recovery of bodies.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said the process, which involves fingerprinting, DNA and ballistics examination, would go on for the next seven days.
Lenku gave an update of the situation flanked by the Chief of Defence Forces Gen Julius Karangi, Inspector-General David Kimaiyo, Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and her Foreign Affairs counterpart Amina Mohamed, among others.
Authorities said they were yet to establish the identities of the terrorists. “We have also been asked about the presence of a woman among the terrorists. We cannot conclusively confirm the identity of any of the suspects until the forensic investigations have been concluded,” he added.
On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired an emergency Cabinet meeting and another by the National Security Council.
Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia said the special NSAC meeting was “to push for a revitalised national and regional counter terrorism strategy and disaster management.”
Officials also fought off claims of intelligence failure, saying the Government had foiled several terror plots in the recent past.
Kenya government defends National Intelligence Service over Westgate terror attack
Updated Wednesday, September 25th 2013 at 23:36 GMT +3
|State defends NIS over Westgate terror attack Photo: STANDARD|
Nairobi,KENYA: The government has defended itself from accusations of intelligence failures that resulted in the horrific killings by the Al-Shabaab terrorists at Westgate Mall.
Interior Ministry Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo yesterday said the State intelligence agencies have prevented many terror attacks in the recent past noting that the Westgate killings are “unfortunate” since it was among the “few instances” in which the killers had outsmart government agencies.
“Over the last few years, since terrorism became a major threat to the country, we have been receiving information about possible terror incidents. We have pre-empted many of them behind the scenes without telling Kenyans. It is unfortunate that the Westgate attacks happened,” he said.
Iringo declined to confirm whether the government received any specific intelligence on the Westgate attack from Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, who has claimed that he had forwarded the information to the National Intelligence Service ( NIS), which refused to act on it.
On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta also defended the intelligence-gathering agency against criticisms of failure saying they have successfully prevented attacks in the past and should be strengthened with more resources and skills to do a better job.
A July 19, twitter posting by the Al-Shabaab group seemed to suggest that the group was planning a massive attack on Kenyan targets. The posting, on the harsh tag @HSMPress Office read: “A spectacular Al-Shabaab attack with fifty plus deaths and guaranteed extended media coverage is finalised. #Kenya or #Somali? Godane ponders.”
“Godane” refers to Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed AbdiGodane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair,
Criticisms have been mounting against NSIS’s capacity to collect valuable information that would prevent possible terror attacks with Members of Parliament calling for reforms in the intelligence agency to boost its capacity to protect Kenyans.
The lawmakers expressed outrage at the security lapse that allowed the terrorists, among them foreigners, into the country smuggling in arms and holding the military in a standoff for four days.