Kenyan president said his forces had “defeated” militants from Somalia’s al Shabaab yesterday, shooting five dead and capturing 11 suspected of killing 67 people during a four-day siege at a shopping mall. According to the Cape Times,President Uhuru Kenyatta told the Kenyan, “The operation is now over.” President Uhuru Kenyatta told Kenyans in a televised address, adding that more bodies, apparently those of gunmen and hostages, remained under rubble after three floors in part of the Westgate Mall collapsed late in mission.
The president announced Kenya would honour the memories of the “innocent, harmless victims” with three days of mourning, starting on Wednesday.
Dozens of people – including Australian, Chinese and Canadian citizens – plus an additional six soldiers lost their lives in the siege, which began on Saturday. According to The Kenyan newspaper, five attackers had been shot dead and eleven suspects had been taken into custody.
On Wednesday Somalia’s Shabab insurgents claimed via Twitter that 137 hostages had been taken, which would mean more than people officially registered as missing.
Roughly 15 suspected al-Shabab militants stormed the mall on Saturday, firing on civilians, saying they were targeting specifically non-Muslims. The assault was in retaliation for a push by Kenyan forces into Somalia in 2011 which resulted in their removal from the region, the Somalia-based extremist group said.
The Kenyan president praised his countrymen for their courage in the face of the country’s worst terrorist incident in over a decade and for showing warmth and generosity toward the victims and victims’ families.
“Fellow Kenyans, we have been badly hurt…but we have been brave, united and strong. Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed…we have not been shaken,” he said, adding, “Our country is safe.”
sources: CapeTimes and Reuters