Sunday, 22 September 2013

Kenyan Mall Massacre: Death Toll Rises To 59...At Least 15 Hostages Still Held By Terrorist About 24 Hours After Mall Was Taken Under Siege

Siege: People look at the Westgate shopping mall in the distance where hostages are being held for the second day
Siege: People look at the Westgate shopping mall in the distance where hostages are being held for the second day
About 10 to 15 hostages are trapped inside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that was stormed by armed Islamic extremists yesterday.
Multiple barrages of gunfire erupted Sunday morning from inside the building where the hostages are being held by militants. The radicals attacked the mall Saturday and remained inside throughout the night.
The Kenyan military remained in a tense standoff with Islamic extremists Sunday, as the toll rose to 59 dead, including children, and 175 wounded in the attack at the Watgate upscale mall, Kenyan Interior Minister Joe Lenku said.

A large Kenyan security force, aided by Israeli commandos, has laid siege to the mall and taken control of its security cameras, according to Mr Lenku.
'The Israelis have entered and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured,' a source told AFP.
As the massacre unfolded witnesses described terrifying scenes in which men, women and children of all ages and nationalities were brutally cut down.
The mall, a popular haunt for rich Kenyans and expats, is dotted with bodies lying in pools of blood. Some victims were shot dead as they sat in their cars, while others have been left with horrific injuries.

"The priority is to save as many lives as possible," Joseph Lenku said, reassuring the families of the hostages in the upscale Westgate mall. Kenyan forces have already rescued about 1,000 people, he said.

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked rebel group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack in which they used grenades and assault rifles and specifically targeted non-Muslims. The rebels said the attack was retribution for Kenyan forces' 2011 push into Somalia and threatened more attacks.

The terrorist even live blogged the killings on twitter.
Tweets purporting to be from Al-Shabaab's official Twitter handle have appeared that describe the attack and state some of the group's grievances.
One post that there will be ‘no negotiations whatsoever’. It said it had previously warned the Kenyan government that, if they did not remove military forces from Somalia, there would be ‘severe consequences’.
Another continued this theme: 'We'll not negotiate with the Kenyan govt as long as its forces are invading our country, so reap the bitter fruits of your harvest.'
It also tweeted: ‘For long we have waged war against the Kenyans in our land, now it's time to shift the battleground and take the war to their land,’
Another tweet said: 'Kenyans will not appreciate the gravity of the situation without seeing, feeling and experiencing death in all its ghoulish detail.'
This morning a message was posted that read: 'A 14-hour standoff relayed in 1400 rounds of bullets and 140 characters of vengeance and still ongoing. Good morning Kenya!'
It added that they were ‘still inside the mall, fighting the Kenyan kuffar inside their own turf’ and proclaimed: 'When justice is denied, it must be enforced. Kenyans were relatively safe in their cities before they invaded us & killed Muslims.'
The organisation claimed it had killed more than 100 Kenyan ‘kuffar’, a derogatory term used to describe non-Muslims.

Updates: It has been claimed that the terrorists were tweeting updates about their attack from the scene
Kenyans and foreigners were among those confirmed dead, including French, Canadians and Chinese.

A 38-year-old Chinese woman was killed in the shopping mall "terror attack," the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said in a statement Sunday. Her son was injured in the attack and in a stable condition in hospital, according to the statement posted on the embassy's website.

Nineteen people, including at least four children, died after being admitted to Nairobi's MP Shah hospital, said Manoj Shah, the hospital's chairman. "We have at least two critical patients currently, one with bullets lodged near the spine," he said.

The hospital continued to receive patients on even today, he said.

Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor, 78 died after being injured in the attack, Ghana's presidential office confirmed.
He was in Nairobi as a participant in the Storymoja Hay Festival, a 4-day celebration of writing, thinking and storytelling. His son was also injured by a gun shot, but survived.

Late Kofi Awoonor
Kenya's presidential office said that one of the attackers was arrested on Saturday and died after suffering from bullet wounds.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said late Saturday that his government had sent a rapid deployment team to Kenya to help. Britons had undoubtedly been caught up in the "callous and cowardly and brutal" assault at the Westgate mall, said Hague.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the attacks and "expressed their solidarity with the people and Government of Kenya" in a statement.

There was some good news on Sunday, as Kenyan media reported that several people in hiding in the mall escaped to safety, suggesting that not everyone who is still inside is being held by al-Shabab.

Security forces had pushed curious crowds far back from the mall. Hundreds of residents gathered on a high ridge above the mall to watch for any activity.

It's understood that security officials are probing the possible involvement of the fugitive ‘white widow’ of 7/7 London bomber Germaine Lindsay, Samantha Lewthwaite - a key Al Shabaab bomb-maker and fundraiser.

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