Updates. Tuesday September 24 2013
Kenyan security forces have come under attack for not acting on intelligence that indicated the Westgate shopping mall was a possible terror target and failing to prevent last Saturday September 21 attacks. More than 60 people including nationals from Ghana, USA and UK lost their lives following the attack
Four days after armed Islamist militants from Al-Shabaab in neigbouring Somalia stormed the up market shopping Mall, Kenyan security forces are still struggling to bring the situation under control. An unknown number of terror suspects and hostages are still holed up in the super market and there has been sporadic shooting early today Tuesday September 24 2013.
Some Kenyans and foreign observers have described the reaction of Kenyan security as “slow, chaotic and uncoordinated. A clean up operation to secure the venue is ongoing though there is no way any of the remaining suspects can escape. The whole area has been secured by Kenyan troops. A spokesman for Al-Shabaab said they had no intention of surrendering which means the remaining suspects will fight to the bitter end.
It is still not clear why Kenya is such a magnate for such spectacular terror attacks. BBC African Service Editor Solomon Mungera told BBC News it is still not clear why Kenyan security cannot identify and stop these attacks after hundreds of people were killed following Al Queda coordinated attacks on US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Initial reports now indicate some of the terror suspects came from the USA and there are indications UK national Samantha Lewthwaite might be involved or even planned the Kenyan attacks on the shopping Mall.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted playing the blame game now will not help resolve the situation.
Updates. Monday September 23 2013
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has called on a concerted global action to end Islamists terrorism as Kenyan security forces battle Al-shabaab militants in the capital Nairobi. Mr Goodluck said Islamists militancy was unknown in Africa until a few years ago and its effects have been devastating in a continent that is largely ill equipped to fight against armed insurgents. Nigeria, Somalia and Mali have suffered the most from Islamists fundamentalism in Africa. Gun fire is ongoing on day 3 of the attacks.
69 people have been confirmed death by the Kenyan red cross after armed Islamists militants attacked the Westgate shopping mall on Saturday September 21, 2013. Some 175 people were injured and Kenyans have been donating emergency blood to help some of the victims.
A children’s cooking competition was taking place at the mall when the attack took place. Renowned Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor was among the people killed by militants. A spokesman for Al Shabaab told Channel 4 news “foreigners are not safe in Kenya”. The Kenyan tourists industry will be hit hard by the crisis as fewer foreigners will be willing to travel there. There are reports hundreds of foreigners have now cancelled their flights to Kenya following the attacks.
Kenyan security forces have now pinned the remaining terrorists to one section of the mall but are unable to take action because they are holding an unspecified number of hostages. There are speculations there are up to fifteen Al Shabaab militants holed in the supermarket and refusing to surrender. Al- Shabab commandants have said they carried the attack in revenge after Kenyan joined forces fighting the islamists militants in war neighbouring war torn Somalia.
Reports are now emerging that Kenyan security forces had prior warnings that the Westgate mail will be attacked but did not take enough precautions to protect the up market shopping center frequented mostly by affluent Kenyans and foreign expatriates. A nephew of the Kenyan president and her fiance were among the 68 victims. President Uhuru Kenyatta has said now was not a time for any “blame game” and that there was coordinated government effort to end the siege.
The International Criminal court ICC has now exceptionally suspended the trial of Kenyan Vice president William Ruto for one week so he could return to his home country to help government action to end the crisis. Mr Ruto is facing war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the post electoral violence in Kenya during which more than 1000 people were killed.
Day 2. September 22 2013
A day after Al-Shabaab Islamists terror suspects from neigbouring Somalia stormed the Westgate shopping Mall in Kenya, security sources are still struggling to finish off some of them. An unknown number of the attackers are now holed up in one section of the four story building and are holding hostages.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has said the terrorists will be defeated and admitted some of those who died were his close relatives. The Westgate shopping Mall is an up market shopping center frequented by the rich and famous in Kenya.
Initial reports now indicate Kenyan security forces knew of an impending attack but were taken off guard because the usual targets, western embassies were not targeted and the terror suspects had a field day at the shopping mall because no one predicted they will be attacking there.
More than 125 Kenyans have now been killed in multiple attacks across the east African country in revenge attacks after Kenyan troops joined a UN peacekeeping force in war torn Somalia.
Al-Shabaab has officially accepted responsibility for the attacks.
The violent attack and killings will again bring back worries about the inability of the international community has failed to bring peace to Somalia for the last 22 years. With no oil and strategic location, the world looks on, uable and unwilling to intervene to stop the crisis. A small UN peacekeeping force has managed to bring relative security in the capital Mogadishu but has been largely ineffective in defeating Al -shabaab after the Islamists militants moved their operations to Southern Somalia
Developments Yesterday September 22 2013.
At least 39 people have been killed after Somali terror group Al-Shabab attacked the up market Westgate Shopping Mall in the capital Nairobi early today. Some gun men are still holding hostages inside the shopping mall.
AFP reports say an unspecified number of armed gun men all dressed in black with protective head scarves attacked the Shopping mall with armed automatic weapons throwing grenades as they opened fire.
Eyewitnesses say the shopping mall was attacked without any warnings. Hundereds of people including children and expatriates were present at the mall when the attack occured.
Kenyan Security Minister Mutea Iringo described the attackers as “armed criminals” vowing that security forces will fight the gunmen to the bitter end.
Al-Shabab gunmen has been attacking targets across kenya since 2011 when Kenyan troops were sent to fight against the Islamists terror group. Before today’s attacks, the group had vowed to attack the shopping mall in retaliation for Kenya’s involvement in the troubles in war torn Somalia. Kenyan has some 4000 troops in Southern Somali which is part of a UN peace keeping force in the country.
Somalia disintergrated into civil war in 1991 when armed clans attacked the government of then military leader Siad Barre.
Since then, various factions have been fighting for control in the country situated in the horn of Africa. UN peace keeping troops have driven the rebels out of the capital Mogadishu but have been unable to bring peace to Somalia.
Al-Shabab or “moving of striving youth” is the Somali based cell of Al-Qaeda. The group has a numeric strenght of more than 14000 armed youths and country a large part of the Southern regions of Somalia.
This is a developing story and we will keeping you posted.