NAIROBI - Five days after terrorists laid siege to a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenyans await the final count of fatalities, as forensic teams search through the rubble.
On Wednesday morning, Kenyan newspapers published a list of those killed in Saturday’s attack on the Westgate shopping mall by Islamist gunmen. The dead hailed from more than 10 countries.
The total death toll stands at 72, including five attackers and six Kenyan soldiers. Nearly 70 people are still reported as missing.
Wariko Waita, head of communications at the Kenya Red Cross, says a recovery team working with Kenyan troops has not yet learned of any hostages among the dead. "We were initially told there would be people still inside. We have not received any casualties or fatalities at this point," he said.
Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said Wednesday that investigators expect to find more human remains under the rubble, but he predicted the overall casualty toll would not increase significantly.
Kenyans have shown their support by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars and over 6,000 pints of blood to the rescue and recovery effort.
"Because of our capacity and overpouring support we believe by the end of the day we will have sufficient supply," said Waita.
Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabab, the Somali Islamist group that claimed responsibility for the assault on the Westgate mall, has threatened more attacks. "We warn the Kenyan government and its satellites that if they want peace and security they should leave our country and stop interfering in our internal affairs," he stated. "They should release our men and avoid all assault on our religion."
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation on Tuesday night, saying a “multi-agency security team” had “shamed and defeated” the attackers. He called for three days of official mourning.
The president also renewed his commitment to “contain terrorists, pacify and stabilize” the region.