News / Africa

Kenyan Govt: Army in Control of Besieged Mall, All Hostages Free

  • Smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 25 2013. 
  • Catholic nuns pray near the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 25, 2013.
  • Fresh graves of Westgate Mall shooting victims in a cemetery in Nairobi, Sept. 25, 2013. 
  • Kenyan security forces stand on the top floor of a building facing the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 25, 2013.
  • Mary Italo, center, grieves with other relatives for her son Thomas Abayo Italo, 33, who was killed in the Westgate Mall attack, as they wait to receive his body at the mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 25, 2013. 
  • Kenya Defense Forces soldiers take their position at the Westgate Mall, on the fourth day since militants stormed into the mall, in Nairobi, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 23, 2013.
  • Paramedics run outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi after heavy shooting, Sept. 23, 2013.
  • People donate blood for people injured in the attack at the Westgate Mall, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Sept. 23, 2013.
  • Stephen, center, who lost his father in Saturday's attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is comforted by relatives as he waits for the post mortem exam at the city morgue, Sept. 23, 2013.
  • Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 21, 2013.
  • Civilians who had been hiding inside during the gun battle manage to flee from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 21, 2013.
VOA News
Kenyan officials say the army has taken complete control of the besieged Nairobi shopping mall from Islamist terrorists, and that all hostages have been freed.

Soldiers are still combing the huge Westgate shopping center floor-by-floor.

Al-Shabab extremists from Somalia claimed responsibility for taking over the mall during a busy shopping day Saturday. Gunmen walked from store-to-store, shooting down shoppers. They also opened fire on a group of children in a cooking class and murdered people in the parking lot. At least 62 people were killed along with two gunmen. The Red Cross puts the death toll at 69.

Al-Shabab says the attack was in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia. It demands all Kenyan forces leave Somalia -- a demand the Kenyan government rejects.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he has spoken directly with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, and will provide whatever law enforcement assistance Kenya needs.

Obama said he is confident Kenya will rebuild. He called it one of Africa's most stable democracies.

Among those killed Saturday were nationals from Britain, Canada, China, France, India and South Korea.

Kenyatta vows to stand firm against terrorism and punish those behind the attack "swiftly" and "very painfully." The president said his nephew and the young man's fiancee were among those killed.

Kenyan forces entered neighboring Somalia two years ago to help rout al-Shabab, which has been fighting to turn Somalia into a conservative Islamic state. Al-Shabab militants often crossed the border to stage attacks in Kenya.

The FBI is investigating reports that some Americans who joined al-Shabab were involved in the mall attack.

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Comments
     
by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
September 24, 2013 10:24 AM
For attacking innocent women and children is an abomination and crime against humanity .The whole World must condemn this act of heinous aggression and rise u against the Al -Shabab .The AMISOM forces must be boosted with the inclusion of Ethiopian and other allied forces to deal the Al Shabab a decisive blow The USA should also deploy one war Ship or aircraft carrier off the Coast of Somalia to demonstrate that the World will not tolerate such acts of wanton destruction of life and property .

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 24, 2013 6:45 AM
When you listen to the list of names of invaluable humans killed by the el shebaab beasts, you would just not help thinking along my line now. I wish the remaining terrorists still trapped in the mall be captured alive - if possible - and be subjected to slow death process in the public. That's the only thing that will assuage the pain they have inflicted on civil and peace loving society. But the broad panacea still remains to discourage state sponsorship of these groups by applying very stringent penalties for a violation.

Since most of the terrorists have sunni muslim leaning, it is hi time someone told Saudi Arabia to its face, "stop sponsoring terrorism." An American backing of the Saudis must be the protection these terrorists enjoy, even though USA makes a pretense of fighting terrorism.

Selfishness of the US has been variously blamed for the increase in terrorist activities. Therefore as a foreplay to the enactment of the laws to eliminate terrorism and punish states that sponsor it, the US should be ready to dare Saudi Arabia by shunning the oil flow that has been its ace in the game. The Saudi monarch should issue a decree denouncing terrorism and terrorists. It is not enough to say there is no terrorist activity going on inside the country while like Iran it puts other countries and lives in jeopardy.

by: John Kerry from: White House
September 24, 2013 12:07 AM
The Al Shabab terror group is the African branch of Al-Qaeda, and is ideologically aligned with the same jihadists that the US and NATO backed in Libya and are currently supporting in Syria.

The 2011 invasion of Libya expanded Al-Qaeda’s operational capacity in both Africa and the Middle East.

As Tony Cartalucci summarizes, “Al Qaeda, for the West, serves as the ultimate geopolitical tool. It can be used as a pretext to invade, as well as a nearly inexhaustible mercenary army to carry out ruthless terrorist campaigns and even full-scale war as seen in Syria and Libya, to achieve Western objectives. Additionally, the omnipresent, nebulous nature of Al Qaeda serves as justification to strip away the rights and liberties of people at home, across Western civilization – perpetuating a climate of fear within which the seeds of very profitable war can be sown and continuously reaped.”

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