On Saturday (Sept. 21), Islamist militants unleashed an attack in Kenya at an upscale shopping mall in the capital city of Nairobi. According to the Kenyan government, up to 59 persons have been reported dead with 175 injured. 30 people are currently being held hostage as officials discuss plans to use military force to take on the Al-Shabaab attackers.
Various reports from major news outlets have been keeping a close eye on the developments in the African nation. Among the many affected individuals in the country and abroad, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta also suffered a personal loss himself. President Kenyatta’s nephew and his fiancee were among the dead and he delivered a stern message to the Al-Shabaab.
“They shall not get away with their despicable, beastly acts. Like the cowardly perpetrators now cornered in the building, we will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully,” said President Kenyatta as reported by CNN.
The New York Times writes that Twitter activity from Al-Shabaab reveal that the militants are aware Kenyan forces are circling and making attempts at a rescue.
“Kenyan forces who’ve just attempted a roof landing must know that they are jeopardising the lives of all the hostages at #Westgate,” read a tweet from the Shabaab. “The Kenyan government shall be held responsible for any loss of life as a result of such an imprudent move.”
Kenyan authorities reported that over 1,000 hostages have been freed since the attack, and have estimated at least 10 to 15 armed Al-Shabaab members have continued swarming about inside. Kenyan military have the Westgate shopping mall, and their remains some doubt of the actual death toll. The Times reports that the Kenya Red Cross gave an estimate of as many as 49 missing, casting some doubt on the actual numbers of the dead.
The United States government has commented on the harrowing situation, with Secretary of State John Kerry issuing a press statement on the day of the attack and pledged support.
“Today’s terrorist massacre of so many innocents is a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant. I want to express my deepest condolences – and the condolences of our entire nation – to the families and friends of the victims in Nairobi today,” read a portion of Secretary Kerry’s statement.
Click on the following pages to see images of the military actions at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Photos: New York Times, CNN, Dai Kurokawa, Kabir Dhanji, Daniel Irungu, Jennifer Huxta, Zhang Chen,