Kenya Mall Seige Over, Says President Kenyatta

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Sep 24th, 2013
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Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta takes the oath of office as his wife Margaret holds a bible during the official swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, April 9, 2013.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta takes the oath of office as his wife Margaret holds a bible during the official swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, April 9, 2013.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared the end of a bloody four-day siege by Islamist militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre.

Five attackers were shot dead by troops and 11 suspects were in custody, he said in a TV address to the nation.

Kenya has “shamed and defeated our attackers” but the “losses are immense”, he said, confirming that 61 civilians and six soldiers had died.

Three days of national mourning have been declared, starting on Wednesday.

There was no air, no light and no water – we just tried to stay as quiet as possible in the hope they wouldn’t find us”

As the clearing of the mall continues, Kenya is braced for the death toll to rise further.

Several bodies – including those of “terrorists” – are thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed following a blaze on Monday, officials said.

Some 175 people were injured in the attack; 62 people remain in hospital and many others are being treated for shock and are undergoing counselling.

“I promise that we shall have a full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone as a national family,” the president said.

“These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are.”

At least 18 foreigners are among the dead, including six Britons, as well as citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China.
Continued threat

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately on shoppers and staff.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

The president said he could not confirm reports that a British national and two or three US citizens were involved in the attacks, but he said forensic experts were carrying out tests to ascertain their nationalities. BBC

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