/ 21 October 2013

Kenya govt says it has recovered gunmen bodies

Kenyan officials put a security cordon around the mall
Kenyan officials put a security cordon around the mall, allowing only security forces and a few government personnel to pass through. (Reuters)

The Kenyan government believes it has recovered the remains of the four gunmen who stormed a shopping mall on September 21 and killed more than 60 people.

Joseph Ole Lenku, Cabinet secretary for interior, said that on Sunday "we recovered a fourth body, which we know from CCTV footage to be that of a terrorist".

He said in his message late Sunday that officials believe the remains of three people recovered at the mall last week are also "those of the terror suspects".

Closed-circuit TV footage from Westgate Mall shows four gunmen taking part in the attack. Lenku said "DNA and other investigations will confirm their identities." 

So far, one gunmen has been identified: Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a Somali-Norwegian.

Security footage shows Kenyan soldiers looting mall
Meanwhile, ​Kenyan security forces walked out of a store in Nairobi's Westgate Mall holding plastic bags heavy with unknown items after Islamic extremists staged an attack.

Others looked behind counters and lifted items.

In a security camera video seen by the Associated Press on Sunday, some members of Kenya's armed forces appeared to loot a store during the four-day siege of Nairobi's most upscale mall.

Kenya's security forces have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Soon after the attack began on September 21, Kenyan officials put a security cordon around the mall, allowing only security forces and a few government personnel to pass through.

When the attack was over, some who owned shops inside the mall complained of looting.

Mobile phones were ripped from displays, cash registers emptied, and even alcohol stocks plundered, according to AP reporters at the scene after the siege ended.

Public servants in Kenya, including police, firefighters and soldiers, are poorly paid and frequently accused of corruption.

An investigation into a huge fire at Nairobi's airport in August revealed that first responders had looted electronics, a bank and an ATM during and after the blaze.

In the case of the Westgate attack, a team of Kenyan lawmakers that investigated the looting allegations cleared soldiers of any wrongdoing.

The Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsability for the mall attack, saying it was in retribution for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia.

Local and foreign investigators have since been digging through the rubble for evidence.

Four AK-47 assault rifles believed to have been used by the attackers were also recovered, Cabinet secretary for interior Lenku’s statement said.

"We continue to dig through the rubble at Westgate," it said.

"We are determined to bring this chapter to a close by identifying the terrorists responsible for the attack, including those who planned it."

Many questions, including what caused a part of the mall to collapse, remain unanswered nearly a month after the attack.

Kenyan officials have urged patience, saying they need more time to investigate the scene. – Sapa-AP