Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Terrorists insist they still control Kenyan mall

Kenya Mall Attack

A Kenyan soldier prepares to enter the Westgate Mall, following a bout of heavy gunfire just after dawn Tuesday, in Nairobi. AP photo

By
From page A2 | September 24, 2013 |

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Islamic militants who staged a deadly attack on a Kenya mall said Tuesday hostages are alive and their fighters are “still holding their ground,” contradicting Kenyan officials’ claims that they are in a final push.

Explosions rang from the mall in the morning and at midday, and gunfire could also be heard, despite the Kenyan government assurances of success. Fresh smoke was seen rising from the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

As the crisis continued, Nairobi’s city morgue braced for the arrival of a large number of bodies of people killed, an official said.

Earlier, the Kenyan Red Cross confirmed at least 62 people had been killed, but spokesman Abbas Gullet said it was still not known how many more may be dead inside the building.

“It is certainly known that there are more casualties,” he said.

A government official told The Associated Press that the morgue was preparing for up to an additional 60 bodies, though the official didn’t know an exact count. The government official insisted on anonymity so he would not face retribution from government officials.

On the fourth day of fighting at the Westgate mall, three Kenyan soldiers died and eight others were receiving treatment, the Kenyan Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

A soldier emerging from the mall told the AP “we are finished,” but then conceded that government forces were still trying to secure the entire interior.

He said troops were checking for explosives, and to see if they could find any survivors in certain areas including the mall’s movie theater and casino. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he said he was under orders not to speak to media.

The al-Qaida-linked attackers gave a conflicting account of the mall conflict, using social media.

“There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the mujahideen are still holding their ground,” said the Somali rebel group al-Shabab in a Twitter message considered to be genuine.

It added that the hostages are “still alive looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive.”

But Kenyan police urged people to ignore “enemy… propaganda” and assured that the defense forces were continuing to “neutralize” the terrorist threat.

“Troops now in mop up operations in the building, ” the police said on Twitter.

A U.S. Embassy vehicle, identifiable by its numbered diplomatic license plate, arrived at the morgue on Tuesday. American officials have not confirmed the deaths of any U.S. citizens in the mall attack, but it appeared possible the Americans who visited the morgue — likely security officials with an agency like the FBI — could have been seeking information about one of the bodies inside.

Al-Shabab, whose name means “The Youth” in Arabic, said the mall attack was in retribution for Kenyan forces’ 2011 push into neighboring Somalia. African Union forces pushed the al-Qaida-affiliated group out of Somalia’s capital in 2011.

“You could have avoided all this and lived your lives with relative safety,” the group Tweeted Tuesday. “Remove your forces from our country and peace will come.”

While the government announced Sunday that “most” hostages had been released, a security expert with contacts inside the mall said at least 10 were still being held by a band of attackers described as “a multinational collection from all over the world.”

Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said “two or three Americans” and “one Brit” were among those who attacked the mall.

She said in an interview with the PBS “NewsHour” program that the Americans were 18 to 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin and lived “in Minnesota and one other place” in the U.S. The attacker from Britain was a woman who has “done this many times before,” Mohamed said.

U.S. officials said they were looking into whether any Americans were involved. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the department had “no definitive evidence of the nationalities or the identities” of the attackers.

Britain’s foreign office said it was aware of the foreign minister’s remarks, but would not confirm if a British woman was involved.

But al-Shabab, responding to a request from AP, denied that any women had attacked the mall.

“We have an adequate number of young men who fully committed and ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah and for the sake of their religion, so there is no need for us to employ our sisters in the battlefield and thereby expose them to unnecessary risk. So these are just baseless rumours that have no substance,” said the al-Shabab press office in what is thought to be an authentic email address.

Three attackers were killed in the fighting Monday, Kenyan authorities said, and more than 10 suspects arrested.

Al-Shabab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said in an audio recording posted on a militant website that the attackers had been ordered to “take punitive action against the hostages” if force was used to try to rescue them.

A Western security official in Nairobi who insisted on not being named to share information about the rescue operation said the only reason the siege hadn’t yet ended would be because hostages were still inside.

Westgate mall, a vast complex with multiple banks that have secure vaults and bulletproof glass partitions, as well as a casino, is difficult to completely secure, the official said. “They are not made for storming,” he said of the labyrinth of shops, restaurants and offices. “They’re made to be unstormable.”

The attack began on Saturday when some 12 to 15 al-Shabab militants invaded the mall, wielding grenades and firing on civilians inside the complex, which includes shops for Nike, Adidas and Bose and is popular with foreigners and wealthy Kenyans.

The militants specifically targeted non-Muslims, and at least 18 foreigners were among the dead, including six Britons, as well as citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China. Nearly 200 people were wounded, including five Americans.

The attack at the Westgate mall in Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 al-Qaida truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, which killed more than 200 people.

————

By David Rising and Tom Odula. Associated Press reporters Jason Straziuso, Rodney Muhumuza, Ben Curtis, David Rising, Adam Schreck and Jacob Kushner in Nairobi, Kenya; Cassandra Vinograd in London; and Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia, contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8