Kenyans demand answers in mall standoff
NAIROBI, Kenya — Forensic experts sifted through the rubble at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall on Wednesday as many Kenyans demanded to know how 10 to 15 gunmen managed to hold off government security forces for more than three days.
More than 70 people, including five gunmen, were killed in the siege. The death toll was expected to rise as forensic experts from the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany helped Kenyan police search the mall.
Kenya Red Cross officials said 71 people remain missing. Meanwhile, authorities had not confirmed how many of the gunmen were unaccounted for by late Wednesday.
Flags throughout Kenya were flying at half staff as part of three days of national mourning declared by government officials.
The U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, said the United States would help Kenyan investigators bring the instigators of the attack and siege to justice. The al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the assault, which began on Saturday.
“The United States has provided technical support and equipment to assist Kenyan security forces and medical responders,” Godec said in a statement. “At the request of the Kenyan government, we will provide additional assistance in the coming days to investigate this attack and to bring its organizers and perpetrators to justice. We will continue to work together with Kenya to stop the scourge of terrorism.”
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said forensic experts were carrying out DNA, fingerprint and ballistics analysis at the mall.
Engineers were also examining the structure to determine what caused three floors to collapse Monday. Some government officials blamed a fire they said was set by the militants, although Kenyan security forces set off a series of huge explosions to gain access.
Al-Shabab taunted Kenyans on Twitter, posting the Kenyan hotline numbers that families of missing people could contact. The group earlier claimed 137 bodies were buried in the rubble and that officials fired chemical agents into the mall to overwhelm the terrorists. The government denied the claims.
Many Kenyans called on the government to provide answers. A list of 85 questions, headed “We the People,” was circulating on the web, demanding to know how many hostages had died in the siege, what caused the floors to collapse and whether any of the assailants had escaped while disguised as hostages.
“Why won't they tell us how many hostages were rescued or where they were taken??? Why so much secrecy!” reads Question 35 on the list.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Migrant crisis forces European Union leaders to set summit
- Fire at Saudi oil company residence kills 11
- Malaysia Prime Minister Najib scorns thousands demanding his resignation
- Egypt, sans parliament for more than 3 years, sets elections
- Temple in ancient Syrian city of Palmyra bombed by ISIS terrorists
- Migrant surge: Europe ill-prepared for invasion of foreigners
- British Columbia windstorm knocks out electricity
- Tropical Storm Danny churns toward Leeward Islands
- 11 officials, executives detained in China port blast
- Tropical Storm Erika kills 4 in Dominica
- Migrants risk all to flee