World News

Friday 25 July 2014

Kenya mall gunmen 'died in attack'

Published 11/01/2014|17:32

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People pay tribute to the victims of last year's Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya (AP)

The gunmen who attacked an upmarket shopping centre in Kenya's capital, killing at least 67 people, probably died in the attack, an FBI official has said.

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Al Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall on September 21 last year. Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya sending its troops to Somalia to fight the militants.

Dennis Brady, the FBI's legal attache in Nairobi, said in an interview posted on the bureau's website: "We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed."

"Our ERT( Evidence Response Team) made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area where they made their last stand," he said.

A very secure crime scene perimeter made an escape unlikely, he added.

"Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for propaganda purposes by al-Shabab. That hasn't happened," he said in the posted interview.

A New York Police Department report on the attack raised the possibility that the gunmen may have escaped.

The top State Department official for Africa, Linda Greenfield-Thomas, said in December that the NYPD report did not reflect the US government position.

FBI officials were on the scene from the first day, and their role is to facilitate, enable and assist the Kenyan investigation and prosecution, Mr Brady said.

The crime scene following the attack was "very complicated", he said, because in the process of fighting the attackers, there were explosions and a fire that continued to burn, eventually causing part of the four-storey structure to collapse into a pit that smouldered for weeks.

"It was a very difficult place to work. While ERT was doing its work, every now and then a propane tank would explode or vehicles on the edge of the collapse would fall in and catch fire," he said.

Four individuals charged in court by Kenyan authorities in connection with the attack are directly connected to the individuals who physically carried out the attack, he added.

Investigations continue to identify the entire network that carried out the attack, he said.

AP

Press Association

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