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Siege at Nairobi Mall Ends, Cardinal Njue Visits the Wounded

Photo credit: DrabikPany via Photopin, CC

By Agenzia Fides, September 25, 2013

Nairobi – “Life is sacred and no one has the right to take it. We need to respect the sanctity of life”, said Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi during his visit to the people who were injured in the siege at the Westgate Mall, and were admitted to two hospitals in the Kenyan capital.

Even the Supreme Council of Muslims in Kenya (SUPKEM) condemned the serious act of terrorism, according to reports from the CISA Agency in Nairobi. “We condemn in the strongest terms the attack against peaceful Kenyans and international guests who live and work in Kenya”, said Adan Wachu, Secretary General of SUPKEM. “We condemn the indiscriminate killing of men, women and innocent children. It is against all the teachings and Islamic precepts”.

After 4 days the Kenyan special forces are in fact able to regain control of the building. The provisional toll of the assault is 67 dead, 61 of whom are civilians, but different bodies still lie in the building partially destroyed, while bomb disposal teams are proceeding with the remediation of any explosive devices scattered by the Shabaab.

According to the newspaper “The Nation” in Nairobi, the operations to release the hostages were particularly complex, because the terrorists had taken control of the camera system inside the Mall, through which they could control the presence of special forces. Only after that the security services managed to “hack” the camera system inside via information technology, the command of the army managed to enter the building. Thanks to a diversionary maneuver the gunman, who seems to have been the terrorist leader, was then shot dead by a sniper of the army, allowing the military to enter the building.

(L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/09/2013)

Death Toll in Mall Shooting Likely to Increase as Investigators Scour Wreckage

Update from, September 26, 2013

Forensic experts from Kenya and abroad have been scouring through the wreckage of Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, where the death toll from a four-day terrorist siege is expected to climb as more bodies are found.

At least 67 people have been confirmed dead so far but the Kenyan Red Cross says more than 70 additional people are missing.

Workers wearing face masks have been examining the wreckage of the partially collapsed mall. Military forces, meanwhile, are on the lookout for any militants who may still be hiding in the mall and for any traps they may have sent.

The al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab says it was behind the attack at Westgate, a large, upscale shopping center popular with foreigners, tourists and wealthy Kenyans.

In a Wednesday briefing, Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku appealed for patience as authorities try to determine the identities of the attackers. He said forensic experts from the U.S., Britain, Israel, Germany, Canada and Interpol have joined the investigation.

Flags have been flying at half staff across Kenya after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared three days of mourning for the civilians and security officers killed in the attack. The victims of the attack hailed from more than 10 countries. At least five militants were also killed.

The dead include nationals from Britain, Canada, China, France, Ghana, India and South Korea.

Among those killed was Kofi Awoonor, a prominent Ghanaian poet who had traveled to Nairobi to attend a literary festival.

Photo credit: DrabikPany via Photopin, CC

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