Kenya Westgate Mall Attack: Crises Moves Into Fourth Day

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[Global: Kenya]

Kenyan security forces say that they are now in "control" of the Westgate shopping mall the scene of the deadly attack by Al-Shabab Saturday that left a reported more than 60 civilians dead and over 170 wounded.

According to media accounts attributing the information to the Kenya authorities several of the attackers have been killed and at least three members of the security forces also died in gun battles inside the mall. The Kenyans say security forces are now in a "mop-up operation" and "very near the end."

In an interview on PBS's Newshour, Amina Mohamed, Kenya's foreign affairs minister said three of the attackers were males in their late teens from the United States and of "Somali or Arabic" ancestry, who had lived in Minnesota and somewhere else. She also said one was a female British citizen.

Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku however reported that the attackers were all males although some were dressed as women. Local Kenya media accounts report some attackers are still holed up in the building and that scores of civilians remain unaccounted for meaning there are possibly still many hostages being held.

There is bound to be conflicting information in these early days of an on-going crises.

Al-Shabab itself claims on social media posts that several of its fighters are still alive and inside the mall. The attackers also claim to still be holding hostages.

Al-Shabab, which is based and operates in Somalia, had been driven by African union forces out of cities it had once controlled there, including Mogadishu, the capital. Kenya, which shares a long border with Somalia, which remains unstable, is believed to have as many as 4,000 soldiers inside the war-torn country.

Kenyan troops also pushed Al-Shabab out of the Somali city of Kismayo last year, and the group had vowed revenge attacks at the time and earlier when Kenya first sent soldiers into Somalia.

Kenya says it's goal was to secure its porous borders and prevent the war in Somalia from spilling into Kenya. Al-Shabab was also blamed for attacks against tourists in Kenya and other foreigners in the country. 

 

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