News / Africa

Kenya Military Launches Attack to End Siege

A Kenyan soldier walks out of the main gate of Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi Sep. 22, 2013.
A Kenyan soldier walks out of the main gate of Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi Sep. 22, 2013.
VOA News
A Kenyan military spokesman says most of the hostages trapped in a Nairobi shopping mall by Islamist gunmen have been rescued, and that most of the complex is secure.

After sundown on Sunday, the military began an assault on the upscale mall where an unknown number of hostages were being held by al-Qaida-linked militants.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said at least one attacker was killed during efforts to end the deadly two-day siege.  Officials did not immediately give the number of hostages rescued or the number that remain.

The Kenyan Red Cross increased the number of deaths to 68 after the bodies of nine more people were recovered. At least 175 others were wounded in the deadly attack that began Saturday inside the Westgate Mall.

In an emotional speech delivered Sunday, President Kenyatta vowed to stand firm against the threat of terrorism, adding that Kenyan security forces have a good chance of neutralizing those responsible for the attack.

"They shall not get away with their despicable and beastly acts. Like the cowardly perpetrators now cornered in the building, we will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully," he said.

The president added that his nephew and his nephew's fiancee were among those killed in the attack. "I feel the pain of every life we have lost and share your grief at our nation's loss," he said.

The Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it is in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.  An al-Shabaab spokesman said in an audio message, "Either leave our country or live with constant attacks."

Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to fight al-Shabaab militants who often had crossed the border to stage attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Kenyan counterpart Sunday. Kerry called the attack "an enormous offense against everybody's sense of right and wrong.''

The U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also strongly condemned the attack. Ban called it a "premeditated" and "totally reprehensible" act targeting defenseless civilians.

Witnesses said the gunmen wore masks and tossed hand grenades at the Westgate Mall during busy shopping hours.

Among those killed in the attack were three British nationals, as well as nationals from France, Canada, China, India and South Korea. The United States says no Americans were killed, but that some have been wounded.

U.S. President Barack Obama called President Kenyatta Sunday to express his condolences and reaffirm the U.S. commitment with Kenya to fight terrorism.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David
September 23, 2013 10:37 AM
It is beyond comprehension why an appeal was not made to the Israeli or British or South African Government for specialized Teams to be flow in to deal with the situation. This outcome does not inspire confidence. Ultimately the Kenyan Government needs a number of their own specialized teams to deal with this scenario.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid