/ 23 September 2013

Timeline: Nairobi’s Westgate mall shooting

Timeline: Nairobi's Westgate Mall Shooting

Below is a snapshot of developments in the siege of a Nairobi shopping mall by Somali Islamist al-Shabab militants, which since Saturday has left at least 62 people dead, 63 missing and some 200 injured.

Saturday September 21

  • At midday, about a dozen attackers march into the four-storey Westgate mall, spraying shoppers with machine gun fire and tossing grenades.
  • Police quickly say at least 13 people have been killed and at least seven hostages taken. Police go shop-to-shop to evacuate people from the shopping centre, which is popular with wealthy Kenyans and expatriates and generally packed on weekends.
  • The gunmen, masked and dressed in black, were speaking in a foreign language, possibly Arabic or Somali, and were seen executing a number of shoppers, an eyewitness says.
  • The US state department says Americans were among those wounded.
  • Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebels claim responsibility for the attack, saying on Twitter that it was in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia. It claims that its fighters have killed 100 people in the attack.
  • Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta says 39 people were killed and 150 wounded in the attack in a televised address to the nation. His nephew was among those confirmed killed.
  • The French presidency says two French citizens were killed.

Sunday September 22 

  • Canada announces that two of its citizens, including a diplomat, were killed.
  • The UN Security Council condemns the attack.
  • The Kenyan government says an unknown number of hostages are still being held "in several locations" of the mall. It says no communication has as yet been established with the Islamists.
  • Renowned Ghanaian poet and statesman Kofi Awoonor (78) is among those killed, Ghana's president says.
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron says three Britons have been killed. A fourth is announced a day later.
  • Fighting resumes in early evening in the mall, where Israeli agents join Kenyan efforts to end the siege. Since the day before more than 1 000 people have been brought to safety.
  • Late in the evening the Kenyan army says most of the hostages have been rescued and most of the complex is secure. It said it is seeking to bring a "speedy conclusion" to the siege.

Monday September 23

  • Heavy gunfire and loud explosions are heard at the mall as Kenyan troops battle the militants.
  • Al-Shabab spokesperson Ali Mohamud Rage threatens to order the killing of the remaining hostages.
  • The International Criminal Court excuses Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto from his trial on charges of crimes against humanity for a week so he can deal with the crisis.
  • Security forces are locked in a fierce, final battle with al-Shabab, as huge explosions and a barrage of heavy gunfire echo out of the mall.
  • Security forces free some but not all of the hostages, Kenya's police chief says, adding: "We're increasingly gaining advantage of the attackers."
  • In the afternoon, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku says security forces will soon end the siege. "We are in control of all the floors, the terrorists are running and hiding in some stores … There is no room for escape." He says two attackers have been killed. The army chief says the mall attackers came from different countries. – AFP