World News

Kenya's President: 39 Dead in Kenya Shopping Mall Attack

Kenya's president says at least 39 people have been killed following an attack by heavily-armed gunmen in an upscale shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi. More than 150 others were wounded.

President Uhuru Kenyatta sought to reassure his people on Saturday, addressing the nation just hours after the morning attack, claimed by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab. The president condemned what he called the cowardly act and praised Kenyans for their solidarity in the face of the terrorist threat.



"Terrorism in and of itself is the philosophy of cowards. The way we lead our lives in freedom, unity and consideration for each other represents our victory over those who wish us ill."



President Kenyatta vowed that the perpetrators will be caught and dealt with. He said the government stands ready to defend the country from within and from outside. Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to fight al-Shabab militants who had often crossed the border to stage attacks.

Gunmen opened fire and tossed hand grenades at the Westgate Mall in the nation's capital during busy shopping hours. Children were among the wounded.

The Interior Ministry's permanent secretary, Mutea Iringo, told reporters in Nairobi that security forces gained access to the mall several hours after the attack began and were evacuating civilians and searching for the attackers.



"The specialized security services have at the moment gained access into the building and are now evacuating civilians from the mall and searching for the criminals."



Officials said they believed the attackers were hiding inside the mall, but there were concerns that some of the 10 or more gunmen escaped by mingling with shoppers fleeing the building.

One survivor who had been trapped inside the mall for several hours said he heard leaders of the attack speaking in a language he did not understand.



Al-Shabab claimed in messages posted on Twitter that its "mujahideen" carried out the assault in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.

Al-Shabab said it had warned in the past that Kenya's military presence in Somalia would bring "severe consequences." The militants said on Twitter that the bloodshed at the mall in Nairobi is only a "very tiny fraction" of the violence that has been inflicted on Muslims in Somalia.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said there are reports of Americans injured in the attack, but no further details were immediately available. She condemned what she called a "senseless act of violence."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm about the attack and spoke to the Kenyan president about it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs