Kenya mall shooting investigation takes new turn

Bodies in the parking area
Bodies in the parking area

Detectives want to talk to all tenants of the Westgate Shopping Mall as part of efforts to trace terrorists who attacked it.

This comes amid speculation some of the attackers could have been tenants at the mall.

They had hired shops at the mall to help them map it and plan well in readiness for the assault.

“That is one of the theories we are pursuing because there are claims some were tenants of one of the shops,” said a senior officer aware of the probe.

Police say the attackers seem to know the shop well because of the manner in which they have engaged them. The probe may however, take long given the police must investigate all tenants.

Westgate Shopping Mall is one of several Israeli-owned businesses in Kenya.

The issue was was discussed at a special National Security Advisory Committee meeting (NSAC) held in Nairobi on Sunday.

The NSAC, which was chaired by Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, advises various security agencies on the way forward on security matters. The committee met following the terror attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall, which has killed more than 60 people and left hundreds of others wounded.

After they received the threats, the officers are said to have shared them with major shopping malls, tall commercial buildings and other installations that are usually at risk of mass attacks.

Sources said securities manning these installations are usually asked to beef up their security as a way of containing or deterring planned attacks.

Westgate Shopping Mall was among the installations that were informed of the plans and urged to beef up their security.

But the gunmen seem to have decided to arrive and strike on foot. Instead of gaining access in vehicles, they struck while walking in.

Westgate is a premier complex usually frequented by wealthy locals and expatriates and is usually busiest during weekends.It is one of the many malls that have come up in Nairobi and the country. The six-year-old shopping centre is located on Mwanzi Road in Westlands, near Sarit Centre, and UKay Centre. –