News / Africa

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

    A armored military vehicle drives from the Westgate shopping center after an exchange of gunfire. Sept. 23, 2013. A armored military vehicle drives from the Westgate shopping center after an exchange of gunfire. Sept. 23, 2013.
    x
    A armored military vehicle drives from the Westgate shopping center after an exchange of gunfire. Sept. 23, 2013.
    A armored military vehicle drives from the Westgate shopping center after an exchange of gunfire. Sept. 23, 2013.
    VOA News
    Kenyan officials say the army has taken control of a besieged Nairobi shopping mall from Islamist terrorists, and that all hostages have been freed.

    The Interior Ministry said late Monday soldiers were going through the huge Westgate shopping center floor-by-floor in search of anyone still inside.

    Authorities say three gunmen were killed in clashes with Kenyan security forces, and that at least 10 suspects have been arrested.

    Militants from the Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for taking over the mall during a busy shopping day Saturday. They killed at least 62 people during the multi-day siege. The Red Cross put the death toll at 69.

    Kenyan officials say they believe the gunmen include fighters from several nations. Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told the PBS Newshour that two or three Americans of Somali or Arab origin and a British national took part in the attack.

    White House spokesman Ben Rhodes said the U.S. has long been concerned about al-Shabab recruiting Americans to Somalia, and that the government is examining reports they were involved in the mall siege.
     
    Speculation rose about the identity of the attackers. Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said they were all men but that some had dressed as women.
     
    Despite his comments, one intelligence officer and two soldiers told Reuters that one of the dead militants was a white woman. This is likely to fuel speculation that she is the wanted widow of one of the suicide bombers who together killed more than 50 people on London's transport system in 2005.
     
    Called the “white widow” by the British press, Samantha Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack hotels and restaurants in Kenya. Asked if the dead woman was Lewthwaite, the intelligence officer said: “We don't know.”

    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.

    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.

    From Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya, violent Islamist groups - tapping into local poverty, conflict, inequality or exclusion but espousing a similar anti-Western, anti-Christian creed - are striking at state authority and international interests, both economic and political.
     
    John Campbell, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, said he believed insurgents such as those who rebelled in Mali last year, the Nigerian Boko Haram Islamist sect and the Nairobi mall raiders were also partly motivated by anger with what he called “pervasive malgovernance” in Africa.
     
    “This is undoubtedly anti-Western and anti-Christian but it also taps into a lot of deep popular anger against the political economy in which they find themselves, in which a very small group of people are basically raking off the wealth,” he said.

    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, and called the country one of Africa's most stable democracies.

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

    President 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.

    Reuters contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jeff Fuller from: Canada
    September 24, 2013 10:55 AM
    Oh terrorists are mighty and powerful; shoot those little children and women and show how mighty you are. The truth is that you are gutless and afraid to take on the challenges of the real world. You bring shame to your family, race and religion. Those moderates of your race and religion who do not publicly denounce you are not without blame and sadly will suffer because of your sick actions and their inaction.
    In Response

    by: Jeff Fuller from: canada
    September 24, 2013 11:46 AM
    When I said "sadly will suffer", I was not condoning violence. Violence to revenge violence is still violence.

    by: Carl Jones from: London UK
    September 24, 2013 10:50 AM
    Another NWO false flag just like the Algerian gas plant and Mumbai! Bet most of the so called terrorists escaped down the sewer!lol

    by: Hamza Muhammad from: Japan
    September 24, 2013 8:39 AM
    The entire world is under terrorist control until we shun selfish interest being champion by world supper powers: this people set out agents to be provoking violence but would hide under a cover thinking the rest of the world are fulls; it is a petty. Please come out by expressing yourselves openly and stop confusing the ignorant once.
    In Response

    by: David from: UK
    September 24, 2013 10:46 AM
    Religion plays a massive part in all modern day terrorism. The sooner people are educated that their beliefs do not give them the right to slaughter innocent people, the sooner things like this will start to decrease.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora