Ramesh Vaya

Four-day siege ends

NAIROBI, Kenya — The terrorists who took control of a Nairobi mall and held off Kenyan security forces for four days have been defeated after killing at least 67 civilians and government troops, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday.

NAIROBI, Kenya — The terrorists who took control of a Nairobi mall and held off Kenyan security forces for four days have been defeated after killing at least 67 civilians and government troops, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday.

He said those killed include 61 civilians whose bodies have been recovered so far and six security forces, while some 175 were injured, including 62 who remain hospitalized.

Three floors of the mall collapsed and several bodies were trapped in the rubble, said Kenyatta. His office later said a terrorist’s body was among those in the debris.

Five other militants were killed by gunfire, he said.

“We have ashamed and defeated our attackers,” Kenyatta said in the televised address to the nation.

He said 11 other suspects had been arrested; authorities had previously announced the arrest of seven at the airport and three elsewhere.

“These cowards will need justice as well their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are,” Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday.

At the Westgate mall, there were no immediate signs of the Kenyan Security forces closing their operation.

Two Kenyan soldiers who had recently been inside the mall told The Associated Press shortly before the president spoke that the operation was effectively finished, but they said security forces were still combing the facility and had not definitively cleared all the rooms inside.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were under orders not to speak to the media.

Kenyan forces had for two days said they were in the “final phase” of the operation, only to be battled back by the militants inside the building.

Explosions rang from the upscale Westgate mall in Nairobi throughout Tuesday, and the chatter of gunfire from inside the building could also be heard. Fresh smoke rose from the building in the afternoon.

The Kenyan Red Cross had previously said 62 people had been killed, and it seemed certain that the number of confirmed deaths would rise as security forces search the building.

Nairobi’s city morgue had already braced for the arrival of a large number of bodies of people killed, an official said.

Kenyan Red Cross spokesman Abbas Gullet said it was still not known how many more may be dead inside the building.

“It is certainly known that there are more casualties,” he said.

A government official told The Associated Press that the morgue was preparing for up to an additional 60 bodies, though the official didn’t know an exact count.

The government official insisted on anonymity so he would not face retribution from government officials.

Earlier Tuesday the al-Qaida-linked attackers used social media to give accounts of the fighting inside the mall that conflicted with the government reports.

“There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the mujahideen are still holding their ground,” the Somali rebel group al-Shabab said in one Twitter message considered to be genuine.

It added it still held hostages, who were “still alive looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive.”

Kenyatta did not mention the fate of the hostages — if it was indeed true that there were still some being held — in his address.

Al-Shabab, whose name means “The Youth” in Arabic, said the mall attack was in retribution for Kenyan forces’ 2011 push into neighbouring Somalia. African Union forces pushed the al-Qaida-affiliated group out of Somalia’s capital in 2011.

“You could have avoided all this and lived your lives with relative safety,” the group Tweeted Tuesday. “Remove your forces from our country and peace will come.”

Kenyatta said “initial reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens may have been involved in the attack,” but that “we cannot confirm the details at the moment.

He said experts were working to try and determine the nationalities of the terrorists.

Earlier, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed had said “two or three Americans” and “one Brit” were among those who attacked the mall.

A security expert with contacts inside the mall described the attackers as “a multinational collection from all over the world.”

U.S. officials said they were looking into whether any Americans were involved. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the department had “no definitive evidence of the nationalities or the identities” of the attackers.

Britain’s foreign office said it was aware of the Kenyan foreign minister’s remarks, but would not confirm if a British woman was involved.

Al-Shabab, responding to a request from AP, denied that any women had attacked the mall, saying “these are just baseless rumours.”

The attack began on Saturday when an estimated 12 to 15 al-Shabab militants invaded the mall, wielding grenades and firing on civilians inside the complex, which includes shops for Nike, Adidas and Bose and is popular with foreigners and wealthy Kenyans.

The militants specifically targeted non-Muslims, and at least 18 foreigners were among the dead, including six Britons, as well as citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China. Nearly 200 people were wounded, including five Americans.

Just Posted

1,200 runners came out to Woody’s RV Marathon in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Matthew Hope ran in the Woody’s RV World Marathon for… Continue reading

Two men steal 16 year old’s car at gunpoint in Alberta

RCMP are looking for two men who allegedly produced a handgun and… Continue reading

Mother of five who died in hit and run in central Alberta a huge loss to family, police say

Rocky Mountain House RCMP continue to investigate hit and killed case on… Continue reading

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging… Continue reading

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says two people are dead after… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Speaker stuns Morehouse grads, to pay off $40M student debt

A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College… Continue reading

Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the… Continue reading

Sisters of Ste-Anne hold unique garage sale before giving up Montreal convent

MONTREAL — The Montreal-area Sisters of Ste-Anne are hosting a unique garage… Continue reading

Canadian pilot Patrick Forseth killed in Honduras plane crash: sister

TRUJILLO, Honduras — A British Columbia woman says her pilot brother was… Continue reading

As states pass restrictive abortion laws, questions surface

ATLANTA — As multiple states pass laws banning many abortions, questions have… Continue reading

Pelosi being honoured with JFK Profile in Courage Award

BOSTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being honoured with the 2019… Continue reading

India’s marathon national election reaches the finish line

KOLKATA, India — Voting in India’s mammoth national election ended Sunday with… Continue reading

Most Read