Terrorists claim 137 killed as Kenya declares three days of mourningAssociated Press . Nairobi
The terrorist group behind the takeover of a Nairobi mall claimed Wednesday that the Kenyan government assault team carried out ‘a demolition’ of the building, burying 137 hostages in rubble.
A government spokesman denied the claim and said Kenyan forces were clearing all rooms, firing as they moved and encountering no one.
In a series of tweets from a Twitter account believed to be genuine, al-Shabab also said that ‘having failed to defeat the mujahideen inside the mall, the Kenyan govt disseminated chemical gases to end the siege.’
Kenyan government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that no chemical weapons were used — including tear gas — and that the collapse of floors in the mall was caused by a fire set by the terrorists and that the official civilian death toll remains 61.
‘Al-Shabab is known for wild allegations and there is absolutely no truth to what they’re saying,’ he said. But officials said the death count will likely rise. Estimates varied between only a few bodies to dozens of bodies possibly still inside the mall.
The president, Uhuru Kenyatta, told the nation Tuesday night that the terrorists had been defeated and declared three days of national mourning beginning Wednesday.
Early Wednesday morning, occasional gunshots could still be heard from the mall. Esipisu said they were from Kenyan forces going room to room in the large Westgate Mall, firing protectively before entering unknown territory.
‘During sanitisation once you take control of the place if you go to a room where you haven’t visited before you shoot first to make sure you aren’t walking into an ambush,’ he said. ‘But there hasn’t been any gunfire from the terrorists for more than 36 hours.’
Photos and video of the damage showed the mall’s top level parking lot collapsed in the middle of the building. That brought the second level down onto the ground floor on top of at least eight civilians and one or more attackers, said Esipisu.
The United States ambassador to Kenya says US experts are helping Kenyan forces search for bodies and evidence in the collapsed mall that Islamic terrorists held for four days.
Robert F Godec said in a statement Wednesday that the US is providing technical support and equipment to Kenyan security forces and medical responders.
In another development, a British man was arrested in Kenya following the terrorist attack, Britain’s foreign office said.
comments powered by Disqus
The terrorist group behind the takeover of a Nairobi mall claimed Wednesday that the Kenyan government assault team carried out ‘a demolition’ of the building, burying 137 hostages in rubble. Full story
The US National Security Agency targeted the Indian embassy in Washington and the Indian UN office in New York with sophisticated surveillance equipment that might have resulted in hard disks being copied, a report... Full story
Egyptian authorities have shut down the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice newspaper in Cairo, the latest move aimed at crushing the Islamist movement, the Brotherhood said on Wednesday. Full story
One in three young Japanese women wants to get married and be a full-time housewife, a government survey has showed, despite growing calls for increased female participation in the workforce. Full story
The president, Barack Obama, and Iran’s new leader made very tentative moves Tuesday to end decades of hostility between their countries but could not break the deadlock enough to organise a meeting. Full story
Zimbabwean ivory poachers have killed more than 80 elephants by poisoning water holes with cyanide, endangering one of the world’s biggest herds, a minister said on Wednesday. Full story
A Brazilian territory is believed to have become the first region in Latin America to ban the sale of toy guns as the country attempts to staunch an epidemic of firearm-related crime. Full story
The Kremlin on Wednesday rubbished rumours that president Vladimir Putin had remarried in a monastery with a former Olympic rhythmic gymnastics gold medallist, saying the talk had ‘nothing in common with reality’. Full story
At least 15 countries give husbands the power to prevent their wives from working, the World Bank said Tuesday in a report on gender equality in business. ‘Many societies have made progress, gradually moving to dismantle... Full story
Massive flooding has forced thousands of people to evacuate villages in the west Indian state of Gujarat, where heavy rains and swollen rivers have inundated cities and closed off roads and railway lines, officials said Wednesday. Full story
Three boats carrying more than 700 asylum-seekers — some of whom were Syrian refugees — landed in Italy on Wednesday, the Coastguard said. The new arrivals reflected a sharp increase in boats landing with people fleeing... Full story
Rescuers dug more bodies out of landslides as floodwaters receded in the Philippines Wednesday, raising the death toll from days of monsoon rains worsened by Typhoon Usagi to 30. Full story
Sudanese security forces on Wednesday fired tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters who demonstrated and torched a police station in northern Khartoum, where at least two people have died in three days of rioting over... Full story