Your are here  » Home   » Kenya

Westgate attack: Kenyan authorities on the spot over slip-ups

By - JAMES MBAKA Updated Thursday, September 26th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
Share this story:
Google Plus
Armoured personnel carriers leave Westgate area after the end of operation against terrorists. [PHOTO: standard]


KENYA: Apparent contradictions in official accounts of the four-day siege on the Westgate Mall have put authorities on the spot.

A classic example was who started the fire that caused plumes of thick black smoke that billowed from the building on Monday. Initially, authorities claimed security forces had done it as a tactic but they later blamed it on the attackers.

At some point, senior government officials and security operatives contradicted each other in the open and then made belated alterations under the guise of ‘official information’.

Convince Kenyans

As President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening addressed the nation and declared that “ Al-Shabaab are defeated”, his statement appeared to attempt to convince Kenyans and the world at large that the fierce battle to reclaim the mall was over.

The president’s message was that 67 people, including six soldiers, had been killed as a result of the attack on Westgate. He noted that five attackers had also been killed and 11 of them captured. According to the earlier figures, the number of those arrested was 16.

However, the Interior minister had earlier in the day stated that security agents had arrested 10 suspects for interrogation in connection to the Westgate attack.

It became difficult to verify the truth of the statements being released after the military drove away journalists covering the attack.

Claims that security forces had rescued people on Monday and Tuesday morning could not be verified after the government failed to release the figures. The media, which had camped only 300m from the gate, did not see any hostage being rescued as the number of those held by attackers remained unclear.

On Sunday, the government had estimated the number of hostages to be 30, including children, but the media was not given the actual figures as the rescue mission purportedly continued.

Only ambulances and military pick-ups could be seen driving up to the entrance doors before speeding off, raising anxiety that they were ferrying dead bodies.

GO TO PAGE 1 2 3 Next »
Do you have something to add to this story? Comment here.
Comment Policy
KTN Newsdesk Full Bulletin December 1st, 2015
World Aids Day: Aggrey Aluso on the strides Kenya has made in HIV/Aids reduction
91 year old grandmother in Nyeri to be rendered homeless
Kenya joins the global community in marking this year’s World Aids Day
EACC detectives raid homes of former devolution CS Anne Waiguru, PS Mangiti and NYS boss Githinji
More than 400 families displaced from their homes by floods in Migori County