Westgate Mall Attack: Confusion, Ineptitude and Corruption

Rescue workers dashing for dear life

Rescue workers dashing for dear life

As Kenyans come to terms with the aftermath of the four-day siege at Westgate Mall by Al-Shabaab militants which began on 21st September 2013, thoughts go out to all those who rescued the hostages. A big thank you goes to the first responders who included the well-organized and armed vigilantes from the Asian community; plainclothes police officers and other selfless Kenyans like Abdul Haji, who used their licensed weapons to stall the terrorists, while they dashed to save the hostages. The Kenya Red Cross team of rescuers deserves accolades for braving the volley of bullets and grenades to rush the injured to nearby hospitals. Some people have suggested that the organization should take over disaster management from the lethargic Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC), because of its efficiency.

The Kenyan and international media did a marvelous job by keeping television viewers informed 24/7. Thanks too to the government’s multi-agency security team that dealt with the eventual operation. To all the Kenyans who donated cash and blood to the victims, keep up the unity and care. If the terrorist attack united Kenyans regardless of ethnicity, why then, do they normally maim and kill each other at the command of politicians? Various harrowing narratives which include eye-witness accounts, videos and photographs continue to emerge, depicting how hostages literally dodged death, while some managed to negotiate with the terrorists to secure freedom. Thanks to those who sent blankets, mattresses and other materials to keep the rescuers warm.

There was a group of nine Kenyans who called themselves the ‘Good Samaritans’ and coordinated food distribution to the security personnel and journalists; they were great. The Asian and Somali communities did well by providing food, water and other essentials. Some of them also went on TV to condemn the Shabaab and emphasized that true Moslems would never kill senselessly. There are also accounts of international security officers who rescued their citizens and other Kenyans during the early stages of the attack. For the scores of people from all walks of life whose families, friends and relatives were injured, may they have a quick recovery. For those who ended up fatally, may their souls rest in eternal peace and may their loved ones have comfort during this tragic moment.

Other than the above, there are many bitter Kenyans who condemn the government for neglecting their daily tragedies that come in the form of perpetual road carnage; insecurity ranging from hunger to terrorist attacks; petty and violent robberies, and many other social problems. Whenever accidents happen among the poor, it is the local residents and sympathizers who rescue the victims and rarely the government. Kenyans in the lower socioeconomic stratum wonder why the government never responds in time whenever they are struck by disasters.

Currently, the residents of North Eastern Kenya lament that random shootings, grenade attacks and other fatalities from suspected terrorists, rarely draw the interest of government to the extent seen during the Westgate siege. Similarly, last year’s repeated ethnic clashes in Tana Delta did not attract more than a few statements from politicians and the local media. In addition, the Suguta Valley massacre that cost the lives of over 40 police officers and reservists last November, has not been resolved.

The civilian rescue operation at Westgate was a showcase of how the upper echelon of Kenya deals with disaster. The Asian community was so well coordinated they sent ambulances to fetch the injured regardless of race or religion. They had basic medical materials including disposable gloves that you barely see among Government rescuers. Their vigilantes had walkie-talkies and bulletproof vests, showing their high level of preparedness. But as usual, there were other Kenyans who allegedly robbed victims. For instance, Benson Kihenjo, a police constable, was charged in a Nairobi court with possessing a blood-stained wallet, credit cards, cheque books and other documentations from a Westgate victim.

Ineptitude

Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia together with wife pray for for Westgate dead at St Klara Church in Stockholm

Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia, Dr. Joseph Sang together with other mourners pray for Westgate dead at St Klara Church in Stockholm: Friday 27th September 2013

Informants have claimed that intelligence briefs were made available by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to all the relevant top security bosses in the country, prior to the Westgate attack. Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi alias Sonko made a sensational claim during a senatorial debate this week that two months ago, he furnished NIS with details of impending attacks in Nairobi, but he was ignored. He said that three Asian women who reside in Westlands and Parklands had told him that suspected terrorists who had rented a house in their homes, planned to attack Westgate, Parliament and the Village Market.

The Kenya Television Network (KTN) has also revealed that various security organs were warned twice of an imminent attack in Kenya. A confidential intelligence brief to various ministries and in particular, the National Police Service, warned of a terror attack between 13th and 20th September 2013. The Israeli government also warned that terrorists had planned to launch attacks on Kenyan citizens and key installations between 2nd and 28th September, this year. The briefs were relayed to the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, informing of escalating threats of terrorism and plans to launch simultaneous attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa within September, 2013.

It was reported in the Star newspaper on 26th September that an NIS officer had warned his pregnant sister who is a police officer, not to visit Westgate on the day of attack. “She has told police that her brother who is a NIS officer warned her not to visit Westgate that Saturday because she would not be able to run with her bulging tummy.” The Star further reported that: “Two NIS officers who did not want their identities revealed yesterday told the Star that their organisation had given advance warning of the attack to Inspector General of Police Service David Kimaiyo and Criminal Investigations Department director Ndegwa Muhoro.”

The NIS also gives President Uhuru Kenyatta intelligence briefs; meaning that he was aware of the impending attack. But being engrossed in his ICC “personal challenge,” he must have taken it for granted. When people were urging Kenyatta to postpone his presidential ambitions until he had resolved the ICC case, he thought they were not happy with his quest. Now that he has to juggle the presidency and ICC proceedings, the trophy seems too heavy for him to bear. His deputy Ruto is equally overwhelmed and must be regretting why he championed the “Don’t be vague, go to The Hague” mantra. Former presidential candidate Martha Karua asked voters many times whether they would employ a “hyena to herd their livestock.” Choices have consequences and currently, Kenya’s governance is under siege because of these two men bound by their ICC destiny. Having rubbished the court several times during the presidential campaigns, they have realized it is a force they just have to bow to.

In yet another sensational report in Uganda’s Redpepper newspaper, 24th September, the country’s Chief of Defense Forces General Edward Katumba Wamala, has claimed that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) leader Jamil Mukulu, could have been behind the Westgate siege since he wants to establish his authority as Al-Shabaab’s regional leader. General Katumba said that Mukulu had to account for the funds he was given by Al Qaeda, thus the attack. “Other terrorist cells linked to Al Qaeda like Al Hakim in West Africa and the Al Shabaab in Somalia have given their accountability and that it’s Jamil Mukulu who has not given accountability for the monies he receives from his funders,” said General Katumba.

It is emerging that there were cracks in the chain of command among the security agency bosses during the operations at Westgate. Rivalry and disputes among officers of the Kenya Police and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) delayed the rescue mission. The Nation newspaper received information that a team from the General Service Unit’s Recce Company had earlier in the attack cornered the terrorists into a section of the building. However, the team pulled out when their commander was shot dead by a KDF soldier. Other policemen and armed civilians also pulled out, leaving a vacuum which the terrorists used to regroup and deploy high-powered machine guns, killing many hostages. State House announced that police boss Kimaiyo was in charge, yet the soldiers and their commanders only responded to KDF boss, General Julius Karangi.

The confusion in communication was also noticed when Ole Lenku gave contradicting information on the number of hostages and the dead. It was the same with Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed who claimed in an interview that a British woman Samantha Lewthwaite, (the White Widow) had led the attack, yet the government denied it.

Corruption

The injured being carried away from Westgate

The injured being carried away from Westgate

In an analysis of the Westgate attack, Giles Foden reported in The Guardian newspaper on 23rd September 2013 that “behind the terror is rampant corruption.” He sees a nexus between corruption and crime, amidst an expanding economy challenged by a vacuum of governance. He asserts that “money that should be spent on security and other aspects of infrastructure has been disappearing for generations.” No matter how much focus is placed on the transnational challenges of Islamist terrorism, without adequate investment in appropriate security in Kenya, there will be no success, he argues.

According to Foden: “In Kenya crime and terrorism are deeply linked, not least by the failure of successive Kenyan governments to control either. Indeed, the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta (whose nephew has been killed in the attack), and the vice-president, William Ruto, both face charges of crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in co-ordinating election violence – Ruto’s trial at The Hague has been adjourned for a week to allow him to come home to deal with the crisis.” What value has Ruto added to the Westgate attack apart from wasting taxpayers’ money by traveling from The Hague? He should have remained there to defend his case.

In Kenya, political leaders hardly take responsibility for their incompetence or blunders that harm the country and citizens. The culture of impunity is rife and will continue because those who lead have always been recycled from the same pot of crooks. Up to now, nobody has ever revealed the real persons behind the assassinations and mysterious deaths of prominent politicians like: Pio Gama Pinto, Argwings Kodhek, Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki, Ronald Ngala, Robert Ouko, George Saitoti and Mutual Kilonzo. Over the years, all presidents have used security organs to intimidate and harm their political rivals in order to maintain leadership. Further, they have not shown concern for Wananchi and their insecurity.

Intellectuals like Dr. Micere Mugo and Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o fled the country during dictator Moi’s era of terror, because they were perceived to be awakening citizens with their teachings. Currently, some Mpigs have criticized the Jubilee government for using public resources to bully Raila Odinga and his associates, yet terrorists have a free passage through the porous borders, bringing in illegal weapons. As usual, Parliamentary committees are now rushing to investigate Westgate. Equally, president Uhuru will soon constitute a commission of inquiry and when the report shall be ready, nothing will happen. Meanwhile, as our security bosses waste time wrangling and passing the buck, Al-Shabaab has promised future attacks on key installations and human beings.

Jared Odero

32 comments

  • terrorist attacks timeline

    Chronology of terrorist attacks

    The following is a timeline of terrorist-related attacks in Kenya since 1998 to 21st September 2013, as compiled in globaltimes.cn:

    Aug. 7, 1998 — Al-Qaida terrorists attack US embassy building in Nairobi, killing 213 people and wounding 5,000 people. The twin-attacks also targeted Tanzania.

    Nov. 14, 2002 — Terrorist attack at an Israeli-owned hotel in Kikambala, Mombasa, kills 15 people, including three Israelis.

    Oct. 24, 2011 — Al-Shabaab launches a series of low-grade terrorist strikes in Nairobi. Attacks aimed at civilian targets.

    Attack at Mwaura’s pub, leaves two dead, 20 wounded. Attacker hurled grenade before fleeing. Police bomb squads say the grenade used were Russian-made.

    Oct. 15, 2011, Kenya launches a military offensive against Al- Shabaab militants in Somalia who had been crossing the border into Kenya to kidnap foreign tourists and aid workers for several months. Operation Linda Nchi began soon after the kidnapping of two Spanish women who were working for Doctors Without Borders at the Dadaab refugee camp complex in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on Oct. 13, 2011.

    Oct. 17, 2011 — A Kenyan navy patrol boat is hit by a suspected rocket-propelled grenade off the coast of Lamu, injuring three navy officers.

    Oct. 24, 2011 — Attackers hurl grenade at a commuter bus stage in Nairobi. One person dead, 59 people injured.

    Oct. 27, 2011– Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack a vehicle transporting exam materials in Lafey district in Mandera, killing four people, including two education officials and a Kenyan police reservist.

    Oct. 28, 2011 — A vehicle in a convoy carrying members of Kenya’s paramilitary General Services Unit heading to Liboi hits a roadside landmine 7 km from Garissa town. Three people are injured.

    Nov. 5, 2011 — Two grenades are hurled at the East African Pentecostal Church in Garissa town, killing two including an 8- year-old girl. Five others are injured.

    Nov. 6, 2011 — Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack a border post in Damasa village in Lafey district in Mandera, killing a police reservist.

    Nov. 24, 2011– Twin grenades target a Holiday Inn hotel and a shop in Garissa, killing three people and injuring at least 27 others. A roadside bomb in Bulla-Garaay, near Mandera town, kills a Kenyan soldier and wounds four others on patrol.

    Nov. 26, 2011 — Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack Arabia, a trading center near Mandera, and hit the local police station, taking arms and ammunition and destroying communications equipment.

    Dec. 5, 2011 — A landmine targeting a United Nations convoy explodes at Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab complex, killing a police officer and injuring three others.

    Dec. 11, 2011 — A remote-controlled explosive device explodes near Mandera Border Point Three, killing one police officer and injuring three. Another landmine in Wajir town targeting a military convoy explodes injuring nine soldiers.

    Jan. 11, 2012 — Armed Al-Shabaab militants kill six people including three police officers in Gerille camp, Wajir District. The militants also kidnapped two government officials.

    Feb. 19, 2012 — Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for an attack on a police station in Hulugho, Garissa, which killed a policeman and a civilian and injured two other civilians.

    March 10, 2012 — Six people are killed and more than 60 injured when four hand grenades are hurled at Machakos bus station in Nairobi.

    March 31, 2012 — At least one person is killed and 18 wounded in two attacks targeting a church gathering in Mtwapa and a restaurant in Mombasa.

    April 29, 2012 — A grenade attack in God’s House of Miracle International Church in Nairobi kills one person and injures at least 15 others.

    May 15, 2012 — Attackers fire indiscriminately at the Bella Vista nightclub in Mombasa, one killed. Three grenades are used to attack club.

    May 21, 2012 — Four Kenyan soldiers are injured when their patrol vehicle hits a landmine in the north-eastern Mandera region.

    May 28, 2012 — Blast at Nairobi’s shopping stall, Assanand’s House, injures 27. Police confirm grenade or bomb used in attack.

    June 24, 2012 — Three people are killed and 30 wounded when a hand grenade is thrown into Jericho Beer Garden in Mombasa as football fans watch the Euro 2012 quarter-final match.

    July 1, 2012 — Twin church attacks in Garissa town kill 17 people and injure 60 others. Attackers seize guns from Police before mass shootings. Catholic Cathedral and African Inland Church (AIC) are attacked. Police arrest 80 people in operation after the killings.

    July 18, 2012 — Grenade attack at a barber shop in Wajir town leaves three policemen injured.

    Aug. 3, 2012 — Two separate attacks in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood kill four people. The bombs used in the attack are disguised as a transistor radio and a gas cylinder.

    Aug. 28, 2012 — Three policemen were killed and 12 wounded during riots in Mombasa following the killing of Muslim Cleric, Aboud Rogo in Mombasa. Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for riots.

    Sept. 20, 2012 — Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) launch major operation in Garissa after the indiscriminate killing of three of its soldiers in AMISOM.

    Jan. 4, 2013 — Two killed in grenade attack in Garissa from a saloon car at a tent where people were chewing khat.

    Jan. 16, 2013 — Suspected Al-Shabaab shot dead five people and injured 3 others at a restaurant in Garissa.

    Jan. 17, 2013 — Two men believed to be suicide bombers of Somali origin die after improvised explosive devices went off in Hagdera refugee camp in Dadaab.

    Feb. 2, 2013 — A blast in Wajir town in northeast Kenya leaves KDF soldier dead and two other soldiers injured.

    April 18, 2013 — Six are shot dead and 10 others seriously injured by armed gangsters who stormed Kwa Chege Hotel in Garissa and started shooting.

    Sept. 21, 2013 — Armed masked terrorists stormed a popular shopping mall in Nairobi, killing 59 people and injuring more than 175 people. Al-Shabaab claims the responsibility for the attack.

  • looting at westgate

    Sunday, September 29, 2013

    Rescue, forensic officers accused of looting Westgate mall

    Security officers involved in the rescue operation at the Westgate mall and those in the ongoing forensic investigations, are on the spot over alleged looting in some of the shops.

    When shoppers and merchants returned to the mall over the weekend to sift through the rubble and retrieve what was left of their belongings abandoned during the attack, they found that most of their premises had been vandalised.

    The shop owners alleged the forensic investigations were being conducted unprofessionally as it is standard procedure for investigators to record their activities through video and still pictures to preserve evidence, but in this particular case, such basic procedures were shelved.

    “There were instructions that we should not record anything as officers moved from shop to shop searching for evidence,” said an officer in confidence, as he alluded to officers helping themselves to what’s on shop shelves, cash drawers and safes.

    Other survivors were in shock after seeing what was left of their property.

    Mr Manish Mashru, 43, went with family members to the mall to retrieve his car that was left parked on the rooftop. His 16-year-old daughter Neha was killed in the attack as she participated in a cooking competition on the roof of the mall. His wife, who had accompanied their daughter to the event was shot in the face but survived.

    When he went to the Westgate mall yesterday to get the vehicle his wife and daughter drove on that fateful Saturday, he was escorted to the rooftop parking by police.

    The back window of his car was totally shattered by bullets and there were bullet holes on doors with shopping bags left untouched in the back seat.

    Dr Pushpa Sachdeva, whose dental clinic-The Smile Specialists, was on the fourth floor of the mall, went to the mall with dozens of empty boxes to retrieve whatever she could from her practice.

    “We are just trying to salvage anything we can,” she said.

    Mr Sachdeva was with a group of nurses and doctors, but was only allowed into the building with three other people.

    Alfred Ng’ang’a, a spokesperson for Nakumatt supermarket, said that it was unlikely that any personal items would be retrieved, as nearly everything in had been destroyed by fire.

    “There is not much inside that we can salvage,” he said.

    “Everything had been destroyed in the attack.” Nganga said that assessors where still inside trying to determine the total costs of the damage.

    Despite the bleak outlook and the extensive destruction, many store owners and shoppers still returned to Westgate to pick up the pieces of their lives that were left behind.

    Reported by Ben Nadler bnadler and John Njagi jnjagi

  • Ann Moraa westgate survivor
  • Kenyans should know that Jubilee Government is dead whether they go to Heaven and come back here still there is a big problems.Point number one is that their two leaders President and his Deputy has the Criminal stain on their faces which they have not washed them out.Point two is that the last election of March 4,2013 was voted by the dead people and the living people because their votes exceeded the registered votes.Where the Kenyans people know where they got more votes from? Kenya has a Corrupted leaders who can not make the Country to survive. So what to do with ethnic style? Corrupt leadership.

  • He was warned that his candidature ‘will seriously downgrade and degrade the preeminence of Kenya’s imperial Presidency’ His supporters dismissed the above admonition and egged him on woefully oblivious of the dangers highlighted above and blinded by hatred of a certain politician.

    During the presidential debates UHURU dismissed ICC as a personal challenge. His supporters accepted it at face value and never bothered to interrogate how it will impact on him personally and the Country in general. In the USA/UK anyone facing criminal charges at a local court would never run for a county rep and yet the arguments advanced in this article seek to draw comparison with these countries. That argument would not wash amongst the right thinking Kenyans.

    It is important therefore that Kenyans learn critical lessons from these experience and ensure that the national body politics and public life is cleansed once and for all from criminals facing all kinds of crimes ever holding a public office and dragging the prestige of our national institutions in the gutters of their crimes .It is common practice in Kenya to see people with multiple criminal cases vying for public office with impunity. This must be brought to an end.

    Mourning about the unfairness and the indignities of ICC is tantamount to shutting the stables after the horses have bolted. We cannot have our cake and eat.

  • But this agenda must be raised in Kenya Why do we have more foreigners especially Asians in Kenya? looking this picture makes even an idiot to raise the question of illegal of foreigners living in kenya >The immigration department should be overhaulled in total. there must be sensus8to establish all none Kenyans in this failed State where leaders lack commonsense!in fact Kenya has been invaded by foreigners hence under Mwai Kibaki there was no functioning govt and foreigners flocked in millions to kenya bought Id cards and Pass/ports started businesses through corruption. These Pictures makes one wonder whether this is Kenya or India/Pakistan or afghanistan becouse of the number of Asians in kenya.How do they get jobs when Kimaiyo boys keeps on shooting jobless and idle youth in kenya cities?

  • Kenya blames US, Israeli intelligence for no heads-up on Nairobi attack

    DEBKAfile Special Report September 26, 2013, 11:49 AM (IDT)

    President Uhuru Kenyatta is quoted as blaming the United States and Israel, in conversation with his confidants, for the failure of their undercover agencies to prevent the large-scale terrorist attack launched on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21, DEBKA file reports. He said he had counted on them for a heads-up to thwart an attack, instead of which both the Americans and Israelis were as much in the dark as his own security agencies.

    After October 2011, when Kenyan forces entered Somalia to back the government’s war on the Al Shabaab insurgency, Israeli and American intelligence operatives were given broad license to operate in Kenya’s main cities and shield the country against Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda terrorist attacks.

    Kenyatta was particularly bitter over the way US officials Wednesday, Sept. 25, poured public scorn on Kenyan police and military operations against the terrorists holding the mall. They said they were “mindful that Kenya… has become a precarious buffer zone between the US and Islamist militants.” The shopping mall siege was seen as “a direct threat” to America’s national security, said those US officials.

    The Kenyan president takes the reverse view: He considers the US and Israel failed in their responsibility for setting up a buffer zone for protecting his own country’s national security.

    In this regard, Al Shabaab Wednesday, Sept. 25, issued a “message to Westerners” to prepare for a “long war” unless foreign troops pulled out of Somalia.

    US intelligence sources rebut Kenyatta’s charges. They say they undertook to train Kenyan forces up to a certain level, but then responsibility for warding off attacks devolved on the local authorities.

    They had no answers for questions about another US intelligence failure to pick up word of yet another Al Qaeda attack on the way in Africa, just a year after US Ambassador Chris Stevens and four of his staff, all special US agents, were caught unready and murdered in the Libyan town of Benghazi.

    After that disaster and, more recently, the Algerian gas field hostage siege targeting Western staff of Jan. 16, 2013, the US has beefed up its military and intelligence presence in Africa and overhauled the US Africa Command-AFRICOM.

    Israeli security officials have refused to comment on their involvement in Kenya before, during or after the shopping mall attack, preferring to focus on rapidly rebuilding a strong security envelope in Nairobi.

    In private conversation, Israeli police and intelligence sources admit they fell down badly in Kenya, their failure all the more galling in view of Al Qaeda having targeted a center which houses many Israel-owned and managed businesses.

    Their most urgent task now is to find out how terrorist spies were able to conduct repeated surveillance excursions in the Westgate mall – and even smuggle in large stocks of ammunition for a long siege – undetected by Israeli security agents and without them sounding the alarm.

  • kenyan corruption

    The rot that is killing Kenya

    27 Sep 2013 00:00| Bertha Kang’ong’oi

    After four days of madness, painful deaths, anxiety and national shock, the Westgate siege is over. Or so the government would have us believe. Seventy-two people dead, including five of the attackers, hundreds more injured and 11 arrests made in connection with the attack. But a lot of questions remain unanswered.

    What exactly happened to the hostages who were said to be held by the terrorists inside the mall? If there were about 15 attackers, and five of them were killed, what happened to the rest of them? Did they escape? Rumours have indicated that some of them could have got out as freed hostages.

    Many of the victims had been to Westgate countless times: for meetings, concerts or just a cup of coffee with friends. Within minutes, the suburban district of Westlands in Nairobi, where Westgate is situated, was turned into a war zone. Military helicopters were hovering overhead day and night for the four days of the siege. Ambulance and police sirens rent the air continually. Gunshots and blasts from inside the mall were occasionally heard. This was what I imagine a war zone looks and feels like, or living through a scene in an action movie.

    This has been a scary time for Kenyans, and especially for those who live in Nairobi. I could not sleep on Saturday night. I left Westgate as darkness was falling as I was sure it would all be over by morning. But I stayed awake, tuned to Twitter, until around 3am. The morning brought the bad news that the nightmare was far from over.

    It was not over until two days later on Tuesday evening when the president finally addressed the nation to claim victory over the attackers, and declared three days of national mourning in honour of those who had died.

    But even as the mourning starts, we must ask the hard questions: How did we find ourselves in this situation in the first place?

    It was bad enough to stand there and see the horror in the faces of those who had escaped, and heart- wrenching to see the pain and agony on the faces of those who did not know the fate of their loved ones trapped inside the mall or missing.

    Children were wheeled out of the mall in shopping trolleys, men and women ran out screaming, drenched in their own blood.

    I interviewed many people and their stories left me sad and angry at the same time. Sad because I related to every detail of the narration – I live in Westlands and have been to Westgate countless times – and sad because most of these stories told of dead children lying on the floors and of screaming pregnant women.

    I was also sad because I knew some of the people who were injured on the day and some who had had narrow escapes.

    But as the initial shock passed, I was angry.

    One Somali Muslim woman told me how she had communicated with the attackers inside the mall using the phone of a dead loved one. The dead man was her relative and she had called him to find out whether he was alright. But one of the attackers had answered. They were sorry to have killed him, the attacker had said. They did not know he was Muslim and they had not intended to kill Muslims or Somalis.

    This woman I interviewed went to tell the police that she was talking to one of the attackers, but they ignored her. She even managed to sneak through layers of security personnel and got to a chief police officer leading the rescue operations, but he brushed her off as well. She talked to the attacker a good three times on that day, but no one took her word seriously.

    This is when it gets annoying. Who in the world does that? Who trains our officers? How can a troop of heavily armed terrorists have made their way through Nairobi traffic to the mall unnoticed?

    “As long as our systems and structures remain the same, we should not expect anything to change after this attack,” says Dr Robinson Ocharo, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Nairobi. “In fact, things could only get worse because we have been hit once – twice will be worse. Our enemies would only need to study our behaviour and our responses.”

    As a country, we had it coming. It is a known fact that anyone willing to pay for it can get Kenyan citizenship. Rumours abound of people crossing into Kenya from Somalia and paying “very well” not to have their bags checked.

    International wanted criminals have found a home in Kenya simply because they have had connections with high-ranking politicians and businesspeople who have protected them. Citizens have reported suspicious foreigners or strangers and they have been told to mind their own business. People everywhere are paid to look the other way – from small businesses stealing from ­clients to the government, where members of Parliament are paid to pass laws, or not to.

    Patriotism for us does not go beyond wearing the colours of our national flag.

    “Unfortunately, commitment is missing in Kenya,” says Ocharo. “We are not committed to the country or to each other. Saying is one thing and doing is another. We say but we do not do. We need to change policies that make us less vulnerable in terms of the way we build and construct, but also in terms of our own security.”

    True, this is terrorism and part of a global problem. But were we more watchful, more patriotic and more of our brothers’ keepers, the loss, if any, would have been minimal. As one of my friends says: “The real terrorists are the Kenyans who took a small bribe and let these people in.”

    The middle class, especially, will have to drive change in Kenya. As one blogger correctly pointed out, when the public-school system fails, we take our children to private schools. When the police are corrupt and inefficient, we hire private security. We do not demand more and better from the government; we instead use our money to do what the government should be doing.

    We will have to demand better for things to change in Kenya. The police officers have to be well paid, well equipped and well trained. Corrupt immigration officers will have to be fired on the spot for taking bribes and sharing the spoils with their seniors. The government must start working for its people and it must build trust among the citizens.

    Corruption, without a doubt, has made this kind of terrorist act easy to carry out in Kenya.

    Westgate exposed our shame. It was the most visible display of the country’s failed systems, which have been allowed or tolerated for too long.

    Corruption turned its head and bit us, and now it’s literally bleeding us to death.

    I hope it will not take another deadly attack for us to admit failure and grow up. It’s not enough to have cutting-edge technology designed in Kenya, to discover oil, gas and water and to attract multibillion investments if our public institutions are not a match, and if they remain unchanged.

    As long as we ignore these institutions, accept that the government and police officers are endemically corrupt, and as long as we retain the ­status quo, then these will remain the weak links of the society, and they will be our undoing.

    Bertha Kang’ong’oi is a Nairobi-based Kenyan journalist

  • Monday, September 30, 2013

    Frying Ole Lenku, then adding salt and pepper to taste

    By Kwamchetsi Makokha
    More by this Author

    Looting! That word is being spoken again in the same breath as the heroes who wear uniform and go rushing in where angels fear to tread.

    Somehow, millions of shillings in cash and property were stolen in the hours when only the security forces and humanitarian workers could access the Westgate Shopping Mall during last week’s attack on it.

    Police were first accused of looting, as well as murder and gang rape, in the report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence in 2008.

    The ethos of looting – and general criminality — has remained a large part of the anatomy of the police service, evident in extra-judicial executions, torture and extortion. It survives to date because all efforts to reform the police for decades have been taken captive.

    Public anger stemming from the Westgate tragedy has been cleverly directed at Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku.

    His penchant for sucking on his big toe has made it easy for the media to fry him, salt and serve him to the public as a misplaced incompetent.

    Yet, a security minister is only as good as the forces he leads. If Ole Lenku’s statements are inaccurate, or even misspoken, it is not because he went into the Westgate Mall and counted the hostages.

    It is not because he chose bombardment over storming, or arrested any of the terrorists. It is not because he ordered the Kenya Defence Forces to take charge. He looks bad because he is deliberately being fed information designed to make him appear foolish.

    These games are the pastime of securocrats who believe that they run the country and should not be subject to civilian authority or oversight. It is the same cabal that is more interested in collecting takings from transport operators than enforcing the traffic law.

    It is the same column that derives pleasure from gunning down suspects rather than arresting them to collect information. It is the cover-up squad, and it has been in charge of the security services in spite of all the efforts at reform.

    This axis often resorts to blackmail and threats when confronted – as was the case when public debate raged last year on appointing a civilian to head the police service, or in the recent contestations about where to locate certain powers between the Inspector-General of Police and the National Police Service Commission.

    Doubtless, there are heroes in the police service. There are valiant men and women in the defence forces, and there are patriots in the intelligence services, but they are not in charge. Their voice has been muted by those who look at the Constitution and the law as mere decorations to festoon office cabinets.

    If Kenya wants real security, it should allow the greenhorn, unsure and inarticulate Joseph Ole Lenku to lead reform of the security services by breaking down their rationale to one thing:

    We do not care for the complexity of what they do, we just want our country safe. If there was ever an outsider with no interest in buying security equipment and supply contracts, it appears President Uhuru Kenyatta has indeed already found the right man.

  • Wake- up &smell the shit

    Stop joining Foolish Army of programmed Robots for thuggish govt>

  • September 27, 2013

    Letter from Kenya: Surviving Westgate

    Posted by James Verini

    For years, Khadija Adam had gone to Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall on Saturdays. She had her hair styled at the Ashley Salon, attended to her mobile-phone at Safaricom, shopped at the Nakumatt supermarket. Sometimes she stopped into the Millionaires Casino. Adam, a former model and a warm, boisterous talker, knew many shop owners by their first names, and always bumped into friends. Often, she would get caught up for hours in conversation—she speaks Swahili, Somali, English, and some Arabic—at ArtCaffe. Like many in Kenya, Adam is part Kenyan and part Somali, and a Muslim. “You know how Somalis are,” she told me, “we always have to get the story on everything.”

    Adam arrived at Westgate a few minutes after noon last Saturday. She parked on an upper terrace in the building’s rear. Nearby, around some tents, a crowd of children and their parents were assembled for a junior-chef cooking contest. One of the mothers invited Adam over. She said that she would come back after her salon appointment. She walked into the mall, whose interior is shaped like a “d,” with stores and restaurants surrounding a central atrium. She went into the Safaricom store.

    “Then I heard the sound,” she said. “PAH! There were three shots.”

    Adam works at a mining company in Garissa, a city in northeast Kenya, near the border with Somalia. In the last few years, Garissa has become used to bombings, shootings, and kidnappings—most of them blamed on the Shabaab, the Somali Islamist insurgent group. She knows the sound of gunfire. But this was different. “I’ve never ever heard such gunshots,” she said. “These guns were amazing.”

    Adam rushed to the entrance of the store. She saw a Kenyan policeman crouching by a pillar, aiming across the atrium. There was another deafening volley and bullets tore into the policeman: “The pillar was literally looking like it was on fire.” Then running and screaming. She backed into Safaricom.

    At Ashley Salon, a level above, where Adam had had a 12:30 appointment, Simon Kinyanjui, a stylist, was washing a woman’s hair when he heard the gunfire. “We thought maybe the water-heater had blasted,” he told me. Kinyanjui and a coworker left the salon and peered into the atrium, where they saw police with their guns drawn. “That’s when they were rained with bullets,” Kinyanjui said. They ran back into the salon. Kinyanjui told the customers inside to hide. One got under a massage table. Others crammed into the bathroom. He locked the door and turned off the lights.

    Two other stylists, Godfrey Njoroge and Thomas Kamau, were on the other side of the atrium, on a smoking patio beside the Java House restaurant, facing onto the rear terrace. Njoroge was putting out his Sportman cigarette when “massive, massive gunshots” rang out from the far side of the tents. Kamau ran to the other end of the lot and looked over a low wall. Below him, he saw two men with rifles and what appeared to be ammunition draped over their shoulders. Black cloths were wrapped around their heads. One was shooting at a security guard, the other toward the mall. One of the men looked up at Kamau and raised a hand in the air.

    “He screams ‘We are al-Shabaab!’” Kamau told me. “When he said that I repeated to the guys behind me, ‘Did they say al-Shabaab?’”

    Kamau decided not to wait for confirmation. He and Njoroge moved toward the Java House, along with the frantic children and parents from the cooking contest. Just then, gunfire from inside the mall emptied the restaurant. “People were running with cups of coffee still in their hands, spilling it all over the floor,” Njoroge said. “People were screaming. Bangs inside, bangs outside.”

    The two groups collided on the terrace. Kamau suggested that they try to climb down a wall facing onto a residential area behind the Westgate. Njoroge didn’t like this idea. “I’m going back inside,” he said, and dashed into the Java House.

    When Khadija Adam had walked onto the escalator, at about 12:15, she’d looked down and seen Janet Mulonzia at her usual place behind the counter of the African Lady leather-goods kiosk, on Westgate’s ground floor, near the main entrance. Mulonzia and her coworker, Rosa, were attending to an order of handbags.

    When shooting broke out in front of the main entrance, Mulonzia’s immediate thought was a robbery. A large Barclays bank branch was near the entrance. If a robbery ever did occur, Mulonzia had thought in the past, the safest place to hide might be in the cupboard below the kiosk counter. So, without much debate, she and Rosa kneeled down and crawled in. They listened as the gunfire increased and then became constant. Mulonzia could hear firing and screams coming from ArtCaffe, too, on the other side of the kiosk from the entrance.

    After the running and screaming died down, she heard people speaking in a language she didn’t recognize, accompanied by deliberate, slower footsteps. Through the gap between the bottom of the cupboard doors and the floor, she could see feet. She heard loud whistles, perhaps signals, and then people conferring in Swahili, the common language of Kenya. Next to African Lady is a beauty shop. “Someone, I think maybe one of the gangsters, was yelling at the people in the beauty shop to open the doors,” she said. They yelled in Swahili, “We can get in there and you can make our faces!”

    Upstairs, at Safaricom, Khadija Adam heard yells from the atrium. “When I heard the words ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and the gunfire, I knew we were in trouble,” she said.

    Adam and the others—she estimates that there were more than forty of them in the store—piled into a back room. Among them were several white people. “If they come in and they see white people, they won’t care, they’ll kill all of us,” she said. There was a small cubicle with the store’s surveillance-camera monitors in it. She told the white customers to go in it and hide, and reminded everyone to turn off their cell phones or put them on silent mode. “As we were sitting there, you could hear everything.” Between bursts of gunfire and explosions, she heard what sounded like people moving around in air ducts. She wanted to call out to them. But a man who identified himself as U.N. security personnel said it could be the assailants. So they waited, in silence. They passed around cups of water and held each other’s hands.

    Adam’s husband, in Hong Kong, texted her. “He said ‘These are terrorists, and they’re killing anybody who’s non-Muslim. Tell all the foreigners with you not to go out,’” she said. “I started crying at that point, when I realized it was al-Shabaab. I suspected before, but you know you self-doubt. When I heard it on a text coming from Hong Kong, then I know it’s in black and white.”

    In the drafts folder on her phone, she saved a series of texts—to her husband, relatives, friends—in case the attackers got into the store. “I was waiting for the last minute to press send.”

    One level above, in the salon, Simon Kinyanjui quietly climbed up a ladder to a loft area, which had a television and a sofa, where he and his coworkers normally relaxed between appointments. Now they sat looking at each other and their phones, listening as the gunfire approached and explosions rattled the building. On the wall was a vent with adjustable blinds. Kinyanjui slowly opened them and peered out. He saw three people, dressed in black and camouflage, carrying rifles, approach the salon. One pulled on the door. Finding it locked, the group moved on to a neighboring store, Planet Media, and began shooting at its display windows. The person who appeared to be the leader of the three, who also carried a pair of knives on a belt, had what looked to Kinyanjui to be long hair—like a woman’s. (Reports that a woman, possibly a Caucasian woman, was among the attackers, have not been confirmed.) Kinyanjui texted his coworkers who weren’t in the shop. He found most of them. But not Godfrey Njoroge.

    After parting from Kamau on the rear terrace, Njoroge had run up the stairs to the mall’s fourth level, into a men’s bathroom, and into a stall in the far corner. He called the salon receptionist, who had escaped from the mall, and told her where he was. Then his phone battery died.

    Above him was a small window. He stood up on the toilet and looked out. He had a clear view of the rear terrace and the crowd of children and parents who’d been caught there. “A woman was saying, ‘Calm down, calm down! It’s O.K.!’” he said. Njoroge paused. “Then I saw these guys.”

    Men with large rifles or machine guns fired into the crowd, he said. Some children fell, shot; others lay down. He described the gunmen firing into their backs. One of the attackers took up a stone and slammed a man, who was holding a child, in the head. Then he picked his gun back up and fired more.

    The men stopped shooting. One yelled, in Swahili, “Kama wewe ni Muslamu amka uende!”—“If you’re Muslim, get up and go!” Some people got up and left. Then the gunmen opened fire again. Done, they ran into the mall. Njoroge went into another stall, away from the window, and crouched on the toilet.

    On the ground floor, in the cupboard, Janet Mulonzia and Rosa huddled together. “We tried to cry. We could not cry, because we were so scared,” Mulonzia said. “We were praying and all along we were holding our hands together. I could not let her go.” In the next cupboard, Mulonzia’s phone was ringing. The closer the attackers got, the more the phone rang, it seemed to her. She was too frightened to reach from the cupboard to get it. “I was wishing the battery would die. I was afraid they would come to look for it and they would just get angry and just shoot.” Smoke wafted into the atrium, and for what seemed like hours, Mulonzia stifled a sneeze.

    A few weeks before, Mulonzia had read “Left to Tell,” a memoir about the Rwandan genocide, in which the author, Immaculée Ilibagiza, describes hiding in a bathroom for ninety days. She had liked the book so much that she’d given it to Rosa, who’d just finished it. “So when we were in there we were saying ‘Oh god, we are in that situation.’ But then we said, ‘If Immaculée emerged victorious, we are going to get out.’” They also comforted themselves with the music on Westgate’s sound system. Throughout the afternoon, it never shut off. Nor did the booming recorded voice that announced “Welcome to Westgate shopping mall.”

    “That was good for us,” Mulonzia said.

    Through the gap between the cupboard doors, Rosa could see through the atrium and up to the second level. Suddenly she froze, her eyes widening. Mulonzia whispered to ask her what was wrong. Rosa wouldn’t say.

    When Simon Njoroge and Thomas Kamau had separated on the terrace, Kamau had climbed onto the hood of a car and pulled himself onto the wall facing a residential area. Other people were jumping onto a patch of soft soil about two stories below. Kamau debated, but “the guns were getting closer and closer.” He jumped. He got up, and looked down at himself. He was O.K. He looked up and saw a salon coworker. “He’s up there telling me, ‘I’ve left my glasses!’ He wants to go back,” Kamau told me. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, what the fuck is wrong with you!?’” The coworker jumped. They were in a dirt lane. They found a small door and squeezed through it, to safety.

    In Safaricom, Adam watched the surveillance monitors. She saw two people clad in black approach the shop and look in, then walk off. Later she began seeing what appeared to be police or soldiers. But terrorists, she knew, often acquired official uniforms. So she stayed still. Finally, at about 6 P.M., a store manager arrived with police. Adam and the others were led to the rear terrace, where ambulances were queuing. Through the flaps of a tent, she could see the bodies of the children and parents she’d passed on her way in, six hours earlier. Then the shooting started again, and she scrambled for cover.

    Above the terrace, Godfrey Njoroge was still crouching in the stall when smoke began seeping into the bathroom. “I decided to move,” he said. At about 5:30, he opened the door and dashed into the stall with the window. He could see the ambulances, police, soldiers, bodies. He yelled out. “Please help, please help, we are here!” People on the roof motioned to him to get down and shut up; they were snipers. Njoroge summoned his courage, left the bathroom, and rushed downstairs and outside. A pastry chef from ArtCaffe, whom Njoroge knew, was helping the medics, and gave him water. He was told to get in an ambulance and register with the Red Cross, but he didn’t. “I wanted to be out of that mall.” He got into a taxi. The driver asked if he’d been in Westgate. He said that he had. The driver took him home without charge. Njoroge had been in his apartment until he left it to meet with me, four days later. “I don’t go out,” he said. “I don’t like hearing loud noises. I don’t even watch TV. I drink a lot of beer.”

    At about 6:30 P.M., a coworker of Simon Kinyanjui’s climbed down from the loft area in the salon and hesitantly went to the glass doors. He saw security agents and cameramen outside. The other employees didn’t want him to get their attention, but he waved anyway. The agents trained their guns on him. When he and Kinyanjui came out of the salon, they were told to put their hands up and were patted down. There was still gunfire coming from the levels below. The agents escorted them across the mall and to the terrace, where they were put into ambulances.

    After five hours in the cupboard, Janet Mulonzia steeled herself and inched open the door to get ahold of her phone. Her brother had been texting frantically. She texted him back: “Inside s drawer bro. ptsy for us.” (“Inside a drawer bro. Pray for us.”) A friend outside the mall, also trying to reach her, texted to say that the Kenyan military had control of the ground floor. She texted him: “…tell someone atutoe hapa. Groundfloor.” Atutoe hapa is Swahili for, basically, get me out of here. But her friend, like everyone else outside, was being kept from the scene and from police. He texted to tell her that terrorists were inside, not robbers. There might be bombs.

    “I told Rosa instead of being burned here, we’ll surrender, and whatever happens, happens,” Mulonzia said. “We were waiting to hear an announcement that it’s safe to come out. You know like what you see in the movies? We were waiting for that. But it never happened.”

    Hesitantly, they emerged from the cupboard. The only people they could see were medics, near the Barclays bank. The floor was covered in glass and blood. Mulonzia had lost her shoes. She put on a pair of flip-flops from the kiosk, and they raced for the main entrance. It wasn’t until she and Rosa got outside, and saw all the soldiers and lights and cameras, that she nearly collapsed. “We just realized—and our legs could not walk.”

    Later, in the triage center, she asked Rosa what she’d seen from the cupboard when she froze up. Rosa told her that it had been a man on his knees, his arms lifted in the air, blood running down them. He appeared to be begging for his life.

    As of today, the official count of the dead at the Westgate mall includes sixty-two civilians; the government’s rough numbers for dead shooters and security personnel are five and six, respectively. But a good portion of the building—including part of the rear terrace—has collapsed, perhaps from fire, perhaps from explosives, perhaps from both, and it’s feared that there may be many more bodies in the rubble. The mall is still being searched for bombs. The Kenyan government, along with the F.B.I. and British and German agencies, have begun forensic investigations.

    After the shooting on the terrace stopped, Adam was put into an ambulance and driven to the triage center. Finally safe, she started shaking uncontrollably. “You know, you lose it. I don’t realize you actually lose it. But you lose it,” she said.

    “They’ve made me question my religion,” Adam told me of the Shabaab, which has claimed to have carried out the attack. As we were speaking, A.P.C.s rumbled onto the road behind us, on their way from Westgate. Adam considers herself an open-minded Muslim, but her experience at Westgate has changed her. She said that she could now see the logic in the mass deportations of Somali immigrants that the government has been threatening since attacks began in Kenya. “Right now, I feel like they should all be sent back. Let them go and burn each other in their homes.”

    She hasn’t been herself in other ways. “Ever since then, if I hear a bang, or I hear a noise, I just start crying.” The night before, the wind blew open her bedroom door. She jumped from bed and crawled under a table, screaming. “That’s what we have now on our hands.”

  • Western Security Agencies

    Here Kenyans and western intelligence is being taken for a ride by One of Uhuru Kenyatta trusted Comrade in Crime Sonko Msonko Kisonko>How smart is Sonko (Mike Bovu) a drug dealer who the late Saitoti Mentioned in Parliament >The Drug warlord claims to have known an attack in his Loved Nation where he represents the people of his countyand reported to Kikuyu top nis Cid/etc Why not to Uhuru Kenyatta?! How comes he failed to report such Vital Information to Uhuru Kenyatta? Sonko Kisonko aka Msonko was in the High table delegation that accompanied Uhuru Kenyatta to Communist China went there and engaged Kamau in a Fight infront of Kenyatta Junior? You Guysjust stop it >Please Give us a huge break>Sonko was again set up by the Corrupt NIS for breaking the hand of Shebesh a senator The Woman known to have double Vaginas! Let us wait what is unfolding (top secrets) being platyed by failures at the top leadership of this Kenya Yetu!

  • incompetent military

    Kenyan official: Troops caused mall collapse

    By TOM ODULA & ADAM SCHRECK Associated Press on Sep 28, 2013, at 2:29 AM Updated on 9/28/13 at 7:22 AM

    NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s military caused the collapse of three floors of the Westgate Mall in the deadly terrorist siege, a top-ranking official disclosed Friday, while the government urged patience with the pace of an investigation that has left key questions unanswered.

    Seven days after 67 people were killed in the attack on the upscale shopping center, there is still no clear word on the fate of dozens who have been reported missing and no details on the terrorists who carried it out.

    The account of the roof collapse raises the possibility that the military may have caused the death of hostages in its rescue attempt. An undisclosed number of people are feared to be buried in the rubble.

    The official said autopsies will be conducted on any bodies found to determine the cause of death – from the militants or the structural collapse. The high-ranking government official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge sensitive information.

    The official also confirmed that Kenyan troops fired rocket-propelled grenades inside the mall, but would not say what caused the floors to collapse, if the action was intentional, or if it was an accident.

    The account at least partially backs up information given to the AP on Wednesday by another official who said RPGs fired by soldiers created a gaping hole in the mall’s roof and caused the floors to collapse.

    Four huge explosions had rocked the mall Monday and dark smoke poured out – the likely time that the floors collapsed.

    A soldier who was returning from the mall Tuesday while carrying a rocket launcher told the AP reporter that he had fired it inside. The soldier spoke on condition of anonymity because he was ordered not to talk to the media.

    The government has not said publicly what caused the collapse. One official had earlier suggested it was caused by a mattress fire in the Nakumatt department store.

    Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu said structural engineers are examining the collapse. FBI agents, along with investigators from Britain, Canada and Germany, are participating in the inquiry. Results are not expected until next week at the earliest.

    Police are trying to determine if the attackers stored ammunition in the mall hours or even days before the attack, and investigators are tracing the ownership of a car that has been discovered and is believed to have been used by the gunmen.

    Al-Shabab said it carried out Saturday’s attack to punish Kenya for sending its troops into Somalia to fight the al-Qaida-linked militant group that had seized large parts of that country for years before being dislodged from the capital, Mogadishu.

    U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec said the United States is concerned about the specter of more violence from al-Shabab.

    “Obviously they do pose a threat, and it’s critically important, I think, that we understand al-Shabab, understand what the terrorists in that organization are up to, how they carry out attacks, and really seek to frankly end the threat that the organization poses,” Godec said in an interview with the AP. “So we are working very hard with Kenya, and other countries, to do so.”

    Amid the possibility that some of the attackers may have escaped during the evacuation of civilians from the mall, authorities have increased surveillance at border crossings and at the Nairobi airport, the senior government official said.

    Eight suspects are being held over the attack, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said. Three others who had been detained were released.

    The government says at least 61 civilians and six security forces were killed. At least five attackers also were killed.

    Kenyan officials have offered at times contradictory accounts of the siege and are reluctant to release many details of the investigation prematurely.

    Lenku urged patience, saying the investigation is “a very delicate and complex operation that requires time.”

    He said no bodies have been recovered from the rubble and no official reports of missing persons have been filed. The Kenyan Red Cross has said 59 people are unaccounted for, raising fears of bodies in the debris.
    Original Print Headline: Official: Military caused mall collapse

    Copyright 2013 Tulsa World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

  • you don’t expect much in a government dominated by members from two tribes.Uhuru must have an all-inclusive government to succeed.

  • jubilee wamelala

    Alshabaab ally shows up in Kitale, claims he notified government on Westgate attack

    Written by Leonard Wamalwa lwamalwa@westfm.co.ke
    2013-09-30 02:08:00

    Kitale, Trans Nzoia County: A man claiming to have been privy to the plans prior to the September 21 terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Westlands Nairobi has showed up in Kitale town and claimed that he notified several government officers over the coming attack but no action was taken.

    The 52-year John Muthiora Ngaruiya who confessed that he has been a robber most of his life narrated to journalists how police threatened to charge him with murder of many people that had died in the previous terrorist attacks in the country if he could not drop the wild allegations he was making about the Alshabaab coming to attack Nairobi.

    Ngaruiya who claimed he had traveled all the way from Nakuru to Kitale to share the information with journalists in the area over his efforts to inform the government to avert the attack revealed that he had first reported the move to a chief in Sumek location in Nakuru over the plans by the Alshabaab but the chief tricked him and no action was taken.

    “I went to the chief of Sumek location in Njoro Nakuru county and I told him about the plans that were being undertaken by the members of the Alshabaab and further showed him the Sh. 200,000 they had given me to share with other people who had been trained in Kismayu and came back but the chief did not take any meaningful action,” said the suspect in a long interview with members of the press in Kitale.

    He said that he used to stay at a farm belonging to a prominent personality in Nakuru known as Murugi Farm whereby the manager of the farm a Mr. Kariuki was the one who used to do highway robberies with him before he introduced the new job of recruiting the Alshabaab members from different parts of the country.

    Ngaruiya who claimed that he stayed in remand for eight years from 2002 to 2010 at the Kitale prisons for counts of murder committed in Cherangany was contracted to recruit people who were willing to join Alshabaab to be trained to fight for their course in Somalia, admitted to have recruited several youths in Kapenguria and other parts of the North Rift region since 2010.

    He noted that on September 1st this year, some people of Arab and Somali origin who had not been coming regularly at the farm over the recruitment exercise, came to the Muruki Farm and because he had become a confidant after Kariuki introduced him to the group he was able to know of the terror targets that they had planned to strike in the country and revealed that Westgate was to be attacked this month of September though did not know the exact date.

    They were said to have taken photos of the targetted buildings in different towns including Westgate, Limuru Bata, Delmonte factory among others on their mobile phones which Ngaruiya saw while they talked and scrolled their phones.

    “They showed me the buildings that they were aiming to attack in Nairobi, Thika, Limuru among others as they had saved the photos on their mobile phones,” he said.

    Failed attempts to alert the government

    Ngaruiya revealed that on noting that the masterminds of the terror attacks were serious and had given him Sh. 200,000 to share out to some of the youths especially from the Kikuyu community who had completed their Alshabaab training in Kismayu and were back while the other Sh. 200,000 given to his boss Mr. Kariuki to share with others, he decided not to sell the lives of many Kenyans at such an amount and therefore vowed to himself to reveal the plan.

    He said that he went to the Sumek chief’s office where he narrated to the administrator what was transpiring at the Murugi Farm and what it meant to the security of the country and its residents.

    The chief then appreciated his effort and accepted to take the Sh. 200,000 that the suspect surrendered to him hence told him to go back to the farm to avoid any suspicion when police officers go to arrest him and his colleagues but promised to release him thereafter for the work done.

    Police are said to have later gone to the farm and first arrested the whistle-blower himself and rushed him to the chief’s office by some AP officers who un-handcuffed him on arrival but surprising enough he never saw the other people who were masterminding the deal including Kariuki arrive at the office but instead the chief came back and told him that they had arrested all the rest and send them to a higher office at Njoro because they did not want him to mix with them and had also handed over the money.

    They cautioned him not to go back to the farm and instead the chief gave him Sh. 2000 to leave the place for another place away from there.

    The suspect therefore decided to travel to Nairobi on 4th September as he was eager to ensure that the information he had reached all the relevant arms of the government.

    On arrival in Nairobi he went and booked a lodging at Githurai where he spent the night and the following day he went to Thika town bearing in mind that it was among the towns targeted by the terrorists.

    He said that he sought for the audience of the DCIO and after narrating to him what was happening he was later put into a vehicle and taken to Kayole police station in Nairobi where on arrival he was bundled into a police cell.

    “I was surprised after the police on learning of my revelations they took me to a police cell instead of taking me to police headquarters or CID headquarters where I could offer the information to the right people who could act accordingly,” he said.

    So while at Kayole, Ngaruiya said that junior police officers on learning about his news they threatened him and told him to reconsider his statement not to mention anything about Alshabaab planning to attack Nairobi claiming that such claims were bound to lead him into trouble and they even told his fellow cellmates to advice him to deny such claims for him to be safe.

    “They told my fellow in-mates to advice me not to ever talk of such a thing to their senior police officers because they would charge me with the murders of other people who died in the early terrorist attacks including the one that took place at Machakos country bus because they had never found the perpetrators and it was lucky to them that I had surrendered to them myself,” said Ngaruiya.

    Therefore on learning of what might be of him according to police the spirit that he had of informing the government over the impending attack faded after he realized that the relevant authorities were not ready to receive such information.

    Thus the following day he denied the information and thus was left to go though not happy at the way the government officers had handled him despite knowing that he had crucial information to this country.

    Things therefore remained and continued the way they were and the attack took place as planned on September 21st where tens of people lost their lives as hundreds of others got injured in the attack.

    He said that he never heard about the arrests of the responsible people that were to be arrested at the Murugi Farm and thus believes the chief and the AP officers got compromised in a way and let the perpetrators go scot-free and therefore accomplish one of their many missions.

    Recruitment of the Alshabaab members

    The suspect confessed that the members of the network through Kariuki gave him some money to go out there and convince people to join the Alshabaab.

    “I was given Sh. 1000 for every recruit that I got hence I used to give them Sh. 500 as I retain the remaining Sh. 500,” he noted.

    The recruits’ first stop according to Ngaruiya was at Taveta within Tsavo National park at Chumvini and Rombo areas where they received basic training majorly about the parts of the weapons and how to dismantle and assemble them but with no shooting.

    However before entering the first training the recruits, Mr Ngaruiya said would meet one of the prominent leaders of the Alshabaab in Malindi or Mombasa where they discuss the terms and conditions of the new work ahead of them.

    After completing the first training the recruits are thus transferred to Kismayu for the main training for fighting and are taken through Mombasa, Malindi and Mukoye at the end of the mainland before being ferried by boats to their destination.

    After completing the main training the members therefore come back in the country and rejoin the society at different parts and are always used by the Alshabaabs to store the weapons at different strategic areas where they stay after they are sneaked in the country and are collected only at the opportune moment to be assembled for a ready attack according to their schedule.

    Attacks to continue

    The suspect further revealed to journalists that the assailants are not ready to surrender at all until the time the KDF soldiers shall be withdrawn from their country Somalia.

    “Those people took an oath and are bound by that oath to fight for their right up to the very end and have swore never to relent in their decision to strike the country by killing huge numbers of its residents and destroy important properties until the government feels the pain to consider withdrawing its forces from the war-ravaged country,” he said.

    According to Ngaruiya the terror attacks shall continue at certain intervals whereby a new attack comes at a time when Kenyans are about to forget the previous one, then a new one strikes.

    He noted that it shall be hard for the government to flush out all the members of the Alshabaab in the country bearing in mind that people from different communities including Kikuyus, Luhyas, Luos and many others have been trained by the terror group and are out there living with people who can least suspect that they are working for the group and thus shall rise to the occasion when their time comes.

    The suspect’s revelations come at a time when Kenyans including MPs and senators are asking many unanswered questions over the lapses in the security intelligence and other agencies with Nairobi senator Mike Sonko also revealing that he had also notified the security agencies over the impending Westgate terror attack but nothing was done to avert the whole thing.

    Therefore if Ngaruiya’s allegations are anything to go by then the government needs to go an extra mile to secure Kenyans from the hands of the terrorists who seem to have infiltrated the whole country and are going on with their mission undeterred.

    However after the interview with journalists he was taken by Kitale police officers who later told West FM that he had been handed over to the anti-terrorist police in Eldoret for further investigations.

    Trans Nzoia County commander of police Lilian Okembo revealed later to us that the police are set to investigate and establish the truth of his allegations from the ground in different parts of the country that he had mentioned in his testimony.

    http://westfm.co.ke/mobile/index.php?page=news&id=9888

  • When you have more than 40% Kenyans earning $1.25 a day,Thats 100ksh (unga @140,1 Litre Cooking oil @ 100 and 1 Kilo sugar @120 ) with high unemployment and surrounded by unstable states like somalia,Tribal Population which is politically divided,You need to be on a VERY HIGH ALERT AND SOBER.

    problems facing Uhuru:

    Tribalism
    High Unemployment
    Westgate
    JKIA
    Mpigs – salaries
    VAT
    Strikes, teachers, doctors, nurses
    Resurgent Laira
    The West & EU
    ICC- jela
    DP waiting in the wings
    Heavy drinking
    Heavy smoking
    Red eyes due to Pot smoking?
    Rampant crime + Insecurity
    Al Shabaab
    Protecting Moi wealth
    Beth Mugo JKIA duty free shop + stealing gemstones from Taita-Taveta

  • Mps from Kenya caught up uranating in Hague streets !who brought these Savages &primitive Sub-Humans in Civilization ?http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YxahHUsIJUk

  • JM Kariuki: Dissenting voice silenced by assassin’s bullet
    Updated Wednesday, October 2nd 2013 at 00:13 GMT +3

    By KENNETH KWAMA

    Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, better known as JM Kariuki, began charting a political course that was at variance with that of the government in the early 1970s, leading to a confrontation that ended fatally.

    Kariuki believed in structures and was apparently not happy with President Jomo Kenyatta’s style of governance, in which Cabinet decisions were routinely ignored and power vested in the hands of a few influential individuals.

    Kariuki would be assassinated on March 2, 1975.

    In his book titled The Roots of Political Stability in Kenya, author M Tamarkin says that JM Kariuki, who was an assistant minister, once complained bitterly about the usurping of the powers of Cabinet ministers.

    “I tell you, the country is not being run by the Cabinet. It is no use having ministers who do not take decisions, who have no control over their ministries. In fact, the Cabinet meets very infrequently since the President spends so little time in Nairobi,” the book quotes the plain-speaking politician as having once remarked.

    Around that time, Kenyatta had disagreed with his deputy Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and Kariuki was even more critical of the President. He also took issue with the government, which had formed a habit of ignoring Parliament and introducing ad hoc legislation to legalise actions taken contrary to the law.

    In 1974, Kariuki complained bitterly against the exclusion of Odinga and other ex- Kenya People’s Union leaders from the forthcoming General Election, claiming that “the statement remained illegal until such time as the government decides to bring it to Parliament in the form of a bill to be debated, approved or rejected.”

    In 1966, the government introduced a retroactive bill that forced MPs who had joined the newly formed KPU to resign from Parliament and contest their seats on KPU tickets.

    A few months after protesting KPU’s exclusion from the General Election, Kariuki was murdered, an event that shook the country to its roots and left politicians scared to their bones.

    According to Tarmakin, during their first week of business after five weeks of recess, it was as if all parliamentarians had agreed to keep off any debate that may appear to be critical of the government.

    Radical politician

    Achieng’ Oneko, a veteran nationalist who had spent seven years in detention, summed up the predicament of a radical politician in a very personal way: “It does not pay to be bitter.” It took the few politicians who had been cowed just a few days to rediscover themselves and resume their former ways of criticising the government.

    Speaking on a motion seeking to set up a select committee to investigate the circumstances of JM’s murder, a legislator claimed that the killing was part of a plot to eliminate all politicians who stood for truth and democracy.

    In his book, Tamarkin recollects that once the committee had been established, its chairman said with a distinct sense of rage and exaltation: “We want to establish the truth and publish it.”

    The committee’s report implicated people in the higher echelons of the government in the murder, and was the subject of a heated debate both inside and outside Parliament.

    The government rejected parts of the report and did not take any action on it.

  • Mpesa donations that will (or have already gone) to the pockets of corrupt persons, thieves and opportunists with the least sense of morality or patriotism. Blood donations from several parts of country. If Kenyans truly are one, why must they wait for calamity to strike for them to show their oneness. I pray for this Kenya, although I never once heard of a country which succeeded on prayers alone, no initiative and the hands of incompetent leaders.

  • lying government

    If a government intentionally lies to her Citizens,and is discovered to have done so,the government has no choice but to apologise and RESIGN. This government is not telling us the truth about the following:

    A) how many terrorists were actually killed and where are their bodies?
    B) what was the ROLE of KDF in the scenario and yet it was an INTERNAL ATTACK?
    C) where are the missing people? Did the rubble bury them?
    D) are mattresses explosives(vita foam!)?
    E) how was the CHAIN of command?

  • Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Probe commission on Westgate timely, but…

    The decision to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the Westgate Shopping Mall terrorist attack is welcome in light of the many lingering questions.

    Security failures that might have provided room for the terrorists to enter the country and carry out their dastardly deed need to be investigated and any loopholes sealed.

    Also crying out for urgent attention are feuds between the different security agencies that reportedly delayed the rescue mission at a critical phase. The rivalries ensured extension of the bloody siege for a number of days and contributed to a higher number of fatalities than would have been recorded with a fast and effective response.

    The investigation must establish what went wrong and come up with recommendations that will help to secure Kenya from the terrorist scourge.

    However, we must bear in mind that Commissions of Inquiry are often diversionary tactics aimed at doing nothing but buying time. Governments are notorious for establishing commissions, task forces and all manner of inquiries whose findings and recommendations were never supposed to be taken seriously.

    We hope that this time, the authorities are not just out to divert our attentions. The Commission must be established speedily, with clear terms of reference and a timetable.

    But even as this happens, the government must still move with speed to take the necessary actions in the wake of the Westgate attack.

    Reports of looting by soldiers inside the mall and the feuds between commanders of rival security agencies must be speedily investigated and stern action taken.

    Steps to protect this country cannot be delayed, for we can’t expect terrorists to await the conclusions of any commission.

  • Expert claims the GSU unit would have vanquished the terrorists in less time and with less firepower
    Updated Friday, October 4th 2013 at 00:03 GMT +3

    By KIUNDU WAWERU

    Nairobi; Kenya: On September 1, 2004, terrorists riding in a police van and a military truck drove into a school compound in Russia and immediately started shooting in the air.

    School Number One in Beslan, Russia was packed with parents and pupils. The gunmen took hostage over 1,200 people, including 777 children. The armed Islamic militants held the school under siege for three days.

    In the third day of the Beslan siege, Russian security forces stormed the building with tanks and rockets.

    At the end of it, 334 people lay dead, including 186 children.

    Many more were wounded.

    Â The Russian government was castigated over the manner in which it conducted the operation, which ended the siege.

    A Kenyan ex-RECCE officer and Close Quarters Battle (CQB) Expert, argues that, historically, Beslan was the worst handled hostage crisis.

    But, sadly, he claims that Kenya’s handling of the Westgate crisis, has now broken that record.

    The CQB expert, a battle-hardened fighter, facial veins bulging with emotion, recalls hours of helplessly sitting in front of television watching an operation, which he says could have been controlled, going haywire.

    Shortly after the attack on Saturday September 21, police officers and civilians, some armed, rushed to the mal, responding to what most thought was a robbery.

    The early responders included people like Abdul Haji, who armed with a pistol, saved many lives. Mr Haji is one of the civilians who protect Westlands and Parklands area.

    The elite General Service Unit (GSU) RECCE Squad would later join them and many more shoppers who were caught up in the mayhem were rescued.

    The RECCE Squad, armed with automatic CQB weapons like the M4 secured most of the mall and reportedly pinned the terrorists down at the Nakumatt shop.

    From all indications, they were on the road to winning the battle. Then some Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) appeared on the scene. For lack of a clear command, a RECCE officer, Martin Munene, was shot in the melee, thanks to friendly fire.

    “A RECCE (officer) would rather die from an enemy’s bullet than friendly fire,” reveals our source, who has been in touch with his former RECCE colleagues.

    Most of the elite forces officers, says the security consultant, work as a team, reading each other’s body language and movements and trusting each other with one’s life.

    The security consultant recounts an incident in Mombasa when they pursued terrorists to a house. One of them hurled a grenade at them. A RECCE officer reacted first to save the lives of his colleagues.

    He shouted a warning to colleagues and quickly jumped lay flat over the explosive. He was blown to smithereens, but the rest survived to continue with the mission.

    The ex-RECCE officer who have requested anonymity told The Standard that his former colleagues revealed to him that indeed they had gained control most of the mall, which they were approaching “systematically and sequentially as trained.”

    But with the entry of KDF, the RECCE Squad pulled out leaving the operation in the hands of the military. This move, even some military insiders believe was a bad idea.

    An military officer, who is not who is not authorised to speak to the media, says KDF did not take time to strategise and plan.

    TUNNEL
    œThe RECCE and the other police at the scene should not have withdrawn after the arrival of the KDF. They should have continued engaging the terrorists as the KDF gathered intelligence. The KDF moved in without a strategy,” laments the officer.

    The officers was among the evacuation team that attended to the injured KDF Special Forces. By then, the Special Forces had not seen any terrorist, dead or alive. “Where are the bodies? If they are there, we too have not seen them, or they are probably buried in the rubble.”

    But the soldiers is convinced that most of the terrorists escaped through a tunnel that the commanders were not aware of until a blast collapsed part of the mall.

    After the attack, the officer reveals that the security forces obtained a map of the building which did not show the underground tunnel. A mobile phone video footage from one of the soldiers shows blurred images of the charred aftermath of the attack.

    The RECCE squad is believed to the best-placed to handle hostage crises.

    The RECCE is one of the units of GSU, number four after the training school, headquarters, and the G Company. The G Company oversees the security of the Statehouse and all State Lodges. The RECCE is chosen from the best of the best of the GSU officers, owing to their skills, aptitude and interest. The martial arts experts get further training at the Solio Ranch and continuous training, in exchange programmes with Israel and US either locally or abroad.

    BULLET-PROOF

    They train in VIP protection. They are trained in weapon handling with the Crisis Response Team (CRT), demolition and recognition of explosives and as sky marshals (an incognito counter terrorism agent aboard a flight) and extractions. The latter is best suited for hostage extraction.

    The training makes “human machines” out of the otherwise poorly paid GSU police officers.

    The exit of the RECCE squad is believed to have helped the terrorists regroup and get more weapons from a store they had hired at Westgate. The terrorists were well conversant with the building, which the soldier says is built like a fortress. It has bullet-proof glasses, and he says they were amazed to see that fire could not spread beyond the rooms it had started.

    The KDF Special Forces had placed snipers in a building under construction facing the Mall. They had their telescope-mounted weapons trained on the mall trying to capture movements of the terrorists.

    This is standard procedure, says the CQB expert adding that initially, KDF, before the Special Forces arrived, was ill-armed which might further have given the terrorists an advantage.

    The officers were using the G3 rifles, which are not ideal for close quarters battle. This was before the arrival of the KDF elite Ranger Strike Force, the Special Forces and the Parachute Battalion, armed with close quarter combat rifles, including the M4 and the Russian-designed PK5, an all-purpose machine gun.

    KDF also had several Armoured Personnel Carriers (ACP), or tanks positioned at strategic points.

    But the CQB expert says the Westgate situation did not warrant tanks. “The elite squad (RECCE) would not have needed that much time and gun power to end the siege.”

    The RECCE squad, he says, is trained to tackle such attackers even when they decide to use hostages as shields.

    “The Special Force is able to target the villain with precision, in what they call the double tab, a shot to the head, and another to the chest all in one trigger pull.”

    Arguably the Monday blast, was the beginning of the end of the Westgate Siege.

    But what still remains a puzzle is what caused part of the mall to cave in. On Monday, at about 1.20pm, three loud explosions were heard from the mall amid continuing gunfire.

    DARKENING HOPE

    Security forces, journalists and paramedics on Peponi Road and at Oshwal Centre scampered to safety. Later, thick smoke billowed out of the building, darkening the hope of getting out any more hostages alive.

    The KDF source declined to comment about this but other sources said the destruction could have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade or an 84mm missile.

    Sadly, on Tuesday when president Uhuru Kenyatta in a well thought-out speech, partly borrowed from the iconic William Ernest Henley 1875 poem, “Invictus” (unconquered), there was no mention of hostages, who were suspected to be still holed up in the building.

    Failure to rescue these hostages, if there were any left, was a major failure on the part of the officers.

    The CQB expert says that a successful hostage crisis is one where no innocent civilian is killed or injured. This sees the Special Forces take days and in some instances months, in planning a rescue plan if negotiations fail.

    Examples abound of hostage rescues that were hailed as successful, although they were not devoid of casualties. This includes the Japanese embassy hostage crisis, which lasted 126 days.

    ENTEBBE AIRPORT

    On December 17,1996, 14 members of Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, (MRTA) took hostage hundreds of diplomats, government and military officials and business executives at a party in the residence of Japan’s ambassador to Peru, Morihisa Aoki.

    In March, the terrorists called off the negotiations after they said they heard loud noises coming from beneath the floor of the house.

    Indeed, from February, the government had devised an intervention plan and were digging underground tunnels. To cover up the noise, police played loud music over loudspeakers in neighbouring streets.

    A similar strategy could have been employed at Westgate on the Sunday after the attack when at 5.30pm, two choppers cycling the area, Army Spider 538 and the police helicopter suddenly came menacingly down and flew round and round the mall, making deafening noise. Later, a KDF soldier said that the move was a calculated at drowning the sound of gunfire inside the mall.

    This, as many Westgate allegations, was never confirmed.

    The Peruvian Armed Forces commandoes finally managed to get into the residence and kill all the terrorists. One hostage and two commandoes also died in the process.

    Then there was the Entebbe hostage crisis which took one week. Air France Flight 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked at a stop-over in Athens, Greece by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and German revolutionary cells.

    INCOMPLETE MAP

    The 248 passengers-turned-hostages were flown to Entebbe Airport, Uganda where then President Idi Amin was sympathetic to the terrorists.

    On July 1, the Israel government opened negotiations to gain more time to plan a rescue operation.

    In the meantime, Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad built an accurate replica of the terminal where hostages were being held, with the help of the engineers and civilians involved in the Entebbe Airport construction. They also surreptitiously gathered information from the hostages about the goings-on there.

    This helped them carry out the operation successfully.

    If our source at KDF officer is to be believed, the Kenyan military got an incomplete map, and did not seek the engineer’s expertise that might have helped in getting the correct picture of possible escape routes and hiding areas.

    The CQB expert, on the other hand says says that CRT teams are trained on this, and time also helps by making the terrorists create a routine. You ambush them after establishing their schedule; when they rest, go to the toilet or when their guard is down.

    But such preparation only happens if the terrorists are not injuring and killing hostages. If they do, the security forces have no choice but to plan an urgent rescue plan.

    At Westgate, it is not yet known if the terrorists wanted to negotiate. The last people were rescued on Sunday morning, and they had been hiding in various places. They had not exactly been held captive. No threat on the hostages was reported, although later accounts show they might have been tortured. So, were there any hostages in the first place? What happened to them? What about their captors?

  • CCTV footage shows soldiers looting mall
    Thursday, October 3, 2013 – 00:00 — BY STAR TEAM

    CCTV footage from the Westgate Mall attack confirms that some soldiers took part in looting.

    Virtually all the shops in the mall were looted except the Bata shoe shop. Jewellery, watch and mobile shops were emptied. ATMs, banks and a casino also lost funds.

    Amateur video shows bottles of alcohol all over Artcaffe after a drinking spree.

    Now the CCTV footage indicates that some soldiers looting started after the army took over the Westgate operation from the police on Saturday night.

    Three soldiers are seen walking out of the Nakumatt supermarket with plastic shopping bags filled with cash.

    With his back to the camera, one is seen at 9.12 pm on Saturday, September 21 emptying a cash register into a plastic Nakumatt bag while another soldier holds the bag open. The soldier then collects another cash register which he empties into the bag.

    The faces of the two soldiers, bareheaded and not wearing their berets, are clearly visible in the CCTV footage.

    The footage is currently being reviewed by the police shows the first soldier walking into the mall starting at 7.08 pm on Saturday as the GSU Recce squad officers left the building and KDF took over the rescue operations.

    Another KDF officer is seen walking out of the Nakumatt supermarket with two big plastic shopping bags in the direction of the basement parking. He returns after about ten minutes and is seen walking around the supermarket looking at the shelves.

    From 7.08 pm until 10.30 pm, there are no gunshots coming from the mall. The footage shows different soldiers walking in and out with some stopping to chat. They did not appear to be taking cover from any danger and seemed unaware of the CCTV cameras.

    Three other soldiers can be seen picking items from the shelves of the supermarket.

    At 10.30pm, more CCTV footage shows four attackers in a corner office on the second floor. They were sweating and seem to have panicked. One had an injury on his right foot and was limping.

    At 10.36, one attackers dropped his gun to attend to his injured colleague and wipe his injured leg with a handkerchief. Another attacker is seen holding his weapon facing the door while the fourth attacker is seeking peering out of the window.

    After this, the three men pray as the fourth man keeps watch. Occasionally, the lookout man is heard firing shots in the direction of the staircase.

    After their prayers, the other attackers join in the shooting before one looks ups, sees the CCTV camera, and reaches up to flip the camera towards the wall.

    The footage shows four attackers walking into the mall at 1.03 pm.

    Two attackers armed with AK47 rifles start climbing the stairs to the main door and open fire killing and injuring security personnel and shoppers. Two others are seen entering the mall from the parking area also shooting.

    Police sources said they are splicing together all the footage from the different cameras in the mall to help them reconstruct what happened.

    It is not clear how the roof of Westgate collapsed as KDF switched off all power to the building and the lights and CCTV stopped working.

  • Friday, October 4, 2013

    The military lost the plot in Westgate siege, says retired general

    By ROY GACHUHI
    More by this Author

    Lieutenant-General (rtd) Humphrey Njoroge, once Commandant of Kenya’s National Defence College, is a worried man.

    For a career soldier who spent a great deal of his time in service, what happened on the unforgettable noonday of Saturday, September 21, when Al-Shabaab attackers stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi, was an unfortunate display of planning and execution lapses by security forces that almost turned tragi-comic.

    The terrorists’ objective was to seize Westgate Shopping Mall, and they did it, he says, by employing the age-old tactic of surprise.

    Once this happened, a succession of lapses ensued. Those who arrived first were police on patrol, who thought they were dealing with an armed robbery.

    When the magnitude of the problem dawned on them, reinforcements were brought in the form of the General Service Unit’s Recce Company, the para-military police’s most elite squad.

    It is unclear how smooth the change-over from the patrol police to the GSU was, but even the Recce Company would not finish the job and was relieved by the Kenya Defence Forces.

    The first hard question: What was the chain of command during all these change-overs? In a military operation, when you pin down an enemy, you do not break the fire-fight, says Lt-Gen Njoroge. You must continually reinforce it no matter what else you do until you completely subdue the enemy. If you break it, you give your enemy a chance to recover.

    “This kind of thing requires a rehearsal,” he says. “It won’t happen as if by accident. Training in peace-time is done so that in war you react automatically. There is no time or space to argue about ‘how do we pull out’ or whatever. If this doesn’t happen, that is not a military operation as far as I am concerned.”

    But the biggest lapse of the operation, for which the country could yet pay another bloody price in future, was the handling of people coming out of the building. Even Kenyans not schooled in security matters were aghast at testimonies of terrified survivors, lamenting how they pointed out attackers who had changed clothes to police and were now mingling with them — only for the officers to order them: “Get out! Get out!”

    It sounded incredible, but that is actually what happened, which begs the question: Did some of the security personnel know exactly what they were doing there?

    The real possibility of catching a terrorist alive should have made them drop everything else. The horrific reality is that we now have terrorists among us, probably planning another atrocity.

    “The military in peace-time is always training,” says Lt-Gen Njoroge. “We simulate a multiplicity of scenarios… I will be surprised if they did not train in a basement area, on a building with three storeys or more where there are civilians. And, of course, if they did, they certainly should have known how to handle people coming out of the building.

    “Quite simply, those people should not have been allowed to go home just like that. In any military operation where you have prisoners, there are procedures to release them. You take them to a safe area, you separate officers and civilians, and then you do a thorough, unhurried screening.

    “Quite obviously, the biggest failure at Westgate was not securing all people emerging from the building, including those who were taken to hospitals. They all had a story of interest to security personnel. Everybody at Westgate — if not all of Nairobi — should have been regarded as a suspect. All exits and entrances to the city, all airports and border points should have been sealed for as long it was needed to screen people.”

    A recent example of this kind of ruthless police efficiency was the aftermath of the bombing that took place at the end of the Boston City Marathon in the US. Immediately after the explosions, the entire city was put on a virtual lockdown, and police arrested suspects who were far from the scene of crime.

    “To do this kind of thing,” says the retired officer, “you must have drills during peace-time. Regrettably, some people committed mass murder here and then ran away with the survivors, past security personnel.”

    He points out that the National Security Intelligence Service as presently constituted legally does not have arresting powers.

    Unlike other intelligence services, such as Israel’s Mossad, Russia’s KGB or America’s CIA, which are mandated to act on the intelligence they gather, Kenya’s spying body can only pass on that information to another authority. Whether that authority chooses to act on it or not is beyond the NSIS.

    As far as he is concerned, this is an anomaly that must be corrected as soon as possible, for it is fodder for a frustrating blame game. The NSIS, therefore, should have arresting powers.

    This, though, would require a great shift in the psyche of Kenyans, more so those old enough to remember the Kanu era.

    The NSIS, in those days called the Special Branch, was the most notorious security arm of the government in making dissidents disappear — to their graves or to exile. Mindful of that, framers of Kenya’s current Constitution went out of their way to make the NSIS as unthreatening as they possibly could.

    But, in light of Westgate, it may become necessary to make a U-turn.

    Lt-Gen Njoroge, an alumnus of Army War College in the US, among, other institutions, was a long-standing military theorist and trainer in the KDF. His career stretched from 1969 to 2004, most of it as a trainer, save for a few command postings.

    He taught weapons and tactics to lower-cadre soldiers, operational art to middle-level officers and strategy and policy to colonels and generals. In 1981, he penned a detailed paper on urban warfare while at the Defence Staff College, and reading it today must make any Westgate witness wince.

    In the paper, he strongly advocated joint training of the Army and the Police since in situations such as Westgate, they would be required to work together. It still does not happen, and this is thought to have resulted in a friendly fire incident during the siege.

    “At the moment,” he wrote in 1981, “there is no joint training that is carried out between the GSU and the Army in dealing with urban violence, and since we shall come to aid them in case of failure, we must train together for the sake of command and control. This will make us know their capabilities and limitations. The Joint Headquarters would also practise the aspect of command control, and I feel this aspect is very necessary.

    “The Army must also be trained to be able to live and fight under urban conditions to avoid undue harassment of children, women and the aged and the looting, which comes about when an inexperienced Army is exposed to these things.”

    The paper delves into the concept of Fighting in Built up Areas — known as FIBUA in military jargon — and describes the scenarios as the most complex and most challenging any soldier could face.

    Every room and every corner, every corridor and stairway, is a front. These fronts keep changing because your enemy keeps moving; one moment the front is in front of you, the next moment it is behind. The streets outside are fronts as well. All this requires intelligence gathering, training and equipment altogether different from standard military training, where the front is manned by another army.

    Illusions are the truths

    Writing two years after September 11, Nancy Gibbs, the noted TIME Magazine journalist, said: “Illusions are the truths we live by until we know better.

    Americans certainly know what it feels like to watch them explode: this week, two years ago, the US lost for good the sunny sense that the world is safe, that the oceans protect it, that there are rules even among the hateful against mass slaughter of the innocent.”

    Westgate, on September 21, is Kenya’s version of the destruction of America’s symbols of economic might and military power.

    And our illusions that those bleeping metal detectors and mirrors under our cars operated by receptionists in uniform offer us security must be replaced by a new truth — that they are deterrents to just the most amateur of thugs amongst us.

    Given the current status of our security, a determined terrorist will simply laugh them off and proceed to unleash mayhem on innocents.

    Lt-Gen Njoroge is certain that the terrorists who authored the carnage at Westgate had been stationed in the building for quite a while, and that the ones who were seen coming in were just the triggers. It is impossible, he says, to hold the fire of the police, the GSU and the Army for four days with the handful of weapons that they were seen getting into the building with.

    You needed a truck to carry that amount of weaponry, he says, and high grade explosives are carried in parts and then assembled on site. Somewhere inside the mall was the assembly point.

    This took days or even months of planning and work. That it all went undetected represents a great indictment on the country’s security authorities.

    As a result, Lt-Gen Njoroge worries deeply about two things regarding terrorism in Kenya. One is corruption, the other idle and highly trained former soldiers and policemen.

    Corruption is at the heart of every Kenyan failure, and in this case it may emerge that the source was at the Immigration Department.

    To resolve these, he urges rearmament of Kenya’s moral fabric, and re-engagement of retired military and police officers.

  • Part6: Nairobi Mall Killings: There were no hostages – KDF soldier

    Argwings Odera

    The exhausted commando of the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) cast another gloomy look at the billowing smoke from Nairobi shopping mall on the third day of a shootout that started on September 21.

    Armed men stormed Westgate mall on a Saturday at noon and commenced a horrifying killing spree that left close to 100 civilians dead or unaccounted.

    “No, there are no hostages inside that we can see … only bodies; very many bodies, we are yet to control the situation,” the KDF fighter speaking had just retreated from his sniper position across the mall tomb awaiting another wave of soldiers to take over a presumably long vigil.

    Thick smoke was bellowing from the doomed structure, the progress of the smoke hanging still in the Monday afternoon sun like a picture frozen on a frame.

    “We could see them (attackers) this morning moving freely, even majestically walking to the windows and looking at our positions. Sometimes they taunted us by displaying dead bodies of KDF (soldiers) –whenever they see that useless big (police) helicopter circling above.

    “But now we see nothing since we bombed them this morning.”

    Writer: “But the government said that the smoke was due to a mattress fire started by the terrorists.”

    Soldier: “I don’t know about mattresses. We bombed the back of the building so that we can gain access into the mall and at the same time shower some natural light inside because the building is dark and they (attackers) have switched off all the lights.”

    Flood

    The attackers had flooded the floors with water as a way of alerting them to any counter-attack.

    Dead victims with severed hands and organs were lying prominently for anybody able to break through the police and military siege and have a peek inside cavernous horror.

    The first KDF soldiers who explored the Westgate tomb after the lengthy changeover from the advance GSU team were shocked to find victims had been tortured to death, even dead children stashed in ice cream fridges and others hanging on meat hooks.

    “There were no hostages. Just people left hiding who came out (Sunday night and Monday morning) when they saw us. But we never encountered an armed or a group of terrorists holding an individual or group of people at weapon level in exchange for any demands,” the soldier said.

    “We never snatched a terrified victim from the hand of a terrorist. Nothing like that. Just releasing hidden people and trying to take full control of the mall.”

    “By end of Monday daytime there was nobody left over to rescue and because of our disadvantage, the only way in was through bombing the back of the building.”

    Westgate shopping mall was impregnable from where the Recce unit had retreated.

    Among the things the snipers and surveillance experts could see was the elevator door at the ground floor.

    “They kept piling bodies of (KDF) soldiers there that they are bringing from upstairs,” lamented the fighter.

    Horrifically, the pile steadily increased as the attackers displayed bodies of soldiers whom the public had watched jumping into the mall from the roof.

    Pay

    While the KDF soldiers risk life and limb over meager salaries, the assailants are paid handsomely for their gruesome acts. According to Garissa County Commissioner Maalim Mohamed in a December 2012 intercepted Al-Shabaab communication, the organisation pays US$ 8,000 per KDF soldier killed.

    “They have been paid so well they are willing to die,” the soldier continues. “I have been sent here to die. All I have is my salary. I still owe a loan of 200,000 shillings (US$2,300). If I die here today what will happen? They will ship my body in a casket … what about my family? My children? Al-Shabab is offering 1 million (US$8,000) for my body.

    “What for?” he asked himself again looking at the unchanging pattern of smoke. From television boxes and onlookers, the smoldering fired appeared like a picture frozen on a frame even as the minutes etched on endlessly with an anxious public desperate for a speedy end to the ordeal of those said to be still held “hostage” inside.

    The soldier’s statement that Monday afternoon was in stark contradiction with that from the Kenyan government consisting of: Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, KDF Chief Julius Karangi and Joseph ole Lenku of the Interior Ministry.

    The government told the public there were still several terrorists holding hostages as a bargaining chip for the removal of KDF soldiers from Somali soil. The public was told that a multi-national terror force numbering 25, led by the “White Widow” Samantha Lefthwaithe, Americans, British among others, were holding hostages in the mall.

    Dusk and darkness was settling fast Monday evening. This was disquieting to the KDF paratrooper unit that had taken over from the special police force Recce unit on Saturday after the operational commander Martin Munene had been felled by “friendly fire” from KDF guns.

    Conflict

    The siege on Westgate was not announced as over Monday afternoon despite the fact KDF soldiers said there were no hostages remaining nor any terrorists sighted. The siege could have, ostensibly, finished even earlier on Saturday afternoon, the day of the attack, if the special police unit were allowed to complete their mission.

    But there was a conflict of interest.

    Deputy President William Ruto was at The Hague facing crimes against humanity at the International Criminals Court (ICC), and he was on the verge of being excused from trial on Monday to come participate in his duties at the security command.

    Despite the fact that the office of the Deputy President has no functions in national security organs, neither had the Commander-in-Chief, President Uhuru Kenyatta, communicated formally (it is not known if informally either) for his deputy to come assist in a matter. Only the Commander-in-Chief, President Kenyatta with consultation with the National Security Council can launch a KDF mission after advice from the Security Council.

    “I think the announcement is being withheld until Ruto reaches here,” the KDF fighter said, who lamented he was fed up by incoherent political decisions that have lately placed at stake the integrity of the much-admired Kenyan military.

    Ruto did make a triumphant entry at the burnt out arrivals hall of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport later as night embraced the city, with live media coverage and bold, confident words on the security operations. Within hours upon his arrival, tweets of victory started emanating from the now bombed out death trap that was once an up market mall.

    The public was informed, that, without Ruto leaving the ICC and coming to the aid of his commander in chief, the crisis would have lasted longer.

    But the KDF top command rejected the early Monday night announcement of victory. There was still one objective that required time until daylight, now that the mall was in dark and smoke.

    The war-chest had to be filled. Casinos and banks reported safes broken into and cash stolen. So was jewellery and pastries.

    Meanwhile at the UN General Assembly, a president’s representative was linking the Westgate Mall attack with the ICC.

    In the General Assembly minutes, Laurent Kavakure, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burundi said:

    “Terrorism has become, in various forms, a source of daily concerns”.

    Burundi firmly condemned the heinous attack that had taken place in Kenya and supported the global anti-terrorism strategy adopted in 2006. Concluding, he expressed its hope for a review of the functioning of the International Criminal Court, as well as of the Rome Statute.
    http://informkenya.wordpress.com/2013/10/

  • Westgate questions and Kenya’s misled media

    NYPD report sheds light on mall attack misinformation, while new laws bring the press in line.

    Will Swanson Last updated: 22 Dec 2013 12:29

    Nairobi, Kenya -The world looked on as al-Shabab gunmen stormed the popular Westgate Mall on September 21 in a brazen attack for what the group said was retaliation for Kenya’s military operations in Somalia.

    As the crisis unravelled over the next three days, Kenyans’ despair turned to puzzlement as increasingly befuddled government ministries and officials contradicted each other over the situation.

    Now a recent report made public by the New York Police Department’s anti-terrorism unit has challenged the Kenyan government’s version of events during the Westgate siege.

    The NYPD report suggests the assailants may have fled from the scene of the attack, which killed at least 67 people and wounded more than 200 others.

    “It is unknown if the terrorists were killed or escaped the mall,” the report said. “A major contributing factor to this uncertainty was the failure to maintain a secure perimeter around the mall.”

    The investigation also questioned the actions of the armed forces before President Uhuru Kenyatta declared an end to the siege 78-hours later.

    While the report raises questions over the state’s security apparatus and its ability to handle such crises, traumatised Kenyans may never get the answers they want from their government about what really happened.

    Kenya’s oft-described “vibrant” media, meanwhile, has since been hamstrung by the recent passing of tighter press laws, and a special commission promised by the government to investigate the attack has yet to materialise.

    Killed or escaped?

    Using open source information and relying heavily on CCTV footage from within the mall, investigators from the NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Unit pieced together a timeline of events from the attack.

    The report found that plainclothes first responders may have created problems in distinguishing attackers from security personnel. Poor coordination between police and the military also led to the death of one police officer and the wounding of another in a friendly-fire incident.

    It also found the attackers were aware of CCTV cameras and made conscious but erratic attempts at distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims during their shooting spree.

    Among the most startling findings, investigators said they believed only 12 hours into the 78-hour siege, the four gunmen had disappeared. Security footage reviewed by the investigators showed the attackers waiting in a supermarket storeroom until the CCTV camera was tilted away by one of the men, and they are not seen again.

    Based on the type of weapons, amount of ammunition, the lack of martyrdom videos and official announcements by al-Shabab, the report concluded the perpetrators may have intended to leave the mall after the attack.

    “It appears the mission of this attack was to conduct a high-profile attack by inflicting as many casualties as possible in a short period of time, and then possibly escaping during the ensuing confusion,” the report said.

    In a press conference last week, detective Kevin Yorke said he was sceptical of Kenyan government claims that all four attackers were dead.

    “That’s the million-dollar question. Were the terrorists killed or did they escape? As a cop, I’m very sceptical of any claims unless I see some proof,” he said. “To put it politely, the Kenyan government has been vague and contradictory in their explanations.”

    Animal DNA?

    The report also states that a DNA sample supposedly taken from the remains of one of the attackers was actually animal meat from the supermarket’s butchery.

    Kenyan officials have since rejected the report, saying it was based only on open source and second-hand information.

    “We can confirm that all attackers were killed in the building,” said Kenya Defence Force spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir at a press conference last week.

    He also posted on Twitter defending the government’s view that all attackers were dead.

    “It’s not about Westgate … it’s about representing facts … The terrorists were killed and bodies burnt beyond recognition,” he said.

    However, three months after the Westgate attack, the Kenyan government has failed to produce its own report into the incident, or establish a Westgate commission that was promised by the president in October.

    Lucas Barasa, a local journalist who covered the Westgate attack for Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation, is also sceptical that Kenyan authorities will establish a commission.

    “It [the commission] will not happen. It will not happen in Kenya,” he said. “The victims were forgotten immediately, the dead were buried. That’s what happens in Kenya.”

    Misleading the media?

    The Kenyan authorities have also come under criticism for the way they distributed official information during the attack.

    Much of the information about the number of attackers and number of dead or missing appeared contradictory to other sources such as the Kenya Red Cross. Even different government agencies released conflicting details.

    “They were not giving any useful information because they were also confused,” said Barasa.

    “The inspector general was also at the scene, he wanted to go inside but he was blocked by security personnel for security reasons, he was told he could be shot. So they were also in the dark. They didn’t know what was happening,” he said.

    As the crisis moved into its final days, the increasingly conflicting information provided by the government caused frustration among Kenyans.

    “The government had two centres of information. They were giving information from two parallel sources. So we were getting two conflicting reports from the authorities,” said Barasa.

    Barasa said authorities also pressured journalists to fall in line and report only the official government death toll and updates. A day after the siege began the authorities moved the media out of the Westgate area and cordoned them off in the car park at a nearby Hindu temple, out of view of the mall.

    “They wanted to control information,” said Barasa. “You know some of the information was not in their favour so they wanted to control what was coming to the public. So when they realised that, they started pushing journalists from closer to the scene.”

    Despite government pressure, however, the Daily Nation newspaper broke the story of a botched police and army operation in which a police commander was wounded and a GSU police officer killed in a friendly fire incident with army forces.

    A few days later Dominic Wabala, a journalist at another local newspaper The Star, published a story of Kenya Defence Force soldiers caught looting shops in the mall on CCTV footage. Expecting to see evidence of the massacre, Wabala was shocked at what he saw instead unfolding on the security video.

    “It was appalling, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and what was being done,” he said. “What was of concern to me is that instead of seeing evidence of the massacre and all that … there was this apparent evident looting of some of the things within Westgate.”

    The revelation sent shockwaves throughout Kenya, the country’s highly respected security forces had now been implicated in the theft of goods from the Westgate mall.

    “That created bad publicity for the government, bearing in mind that during the first few hours and days of the incident that they had been trying to manage the flow of information, which in the end backfired,” he said.

    ‘Anti-press legislation’

    Since the Westgate attack, freedom of the press has been further stifled by new media laws passed by the Kenyan parliament in December.

    The amendments to the Kenya Information and Communication Act and the Media Council Act will slap fines on journalists of up to 500,000 Kenyan shillings (US$5,500) and 20 million Kenyan shillings (US$230,000) for media organisations who fall afoul of a code of conduct enforced by a government-controlled media board.

    US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the legal amendments “contentious, anti-press legislation”, saying the new laws will “effectively silence critical reporting through a new government-controlled regulator and the threat of hefty fines”.

    CPJ’s Tom Rhodes said, with the new laws in place, Kenyan journalists will be more reluctant to pursue investigative reporting.

    “We’re going to see massive self censorship,” he said. “The average Kenyan reporter salary is $300 a month, if you have to pay $5,000 imagine, you’ll think twice before doing any sort of story that will get you in trouble.”

    With a thwarted press and a government reluctant to discuss the Westgate attack, Kenyans may never get the answers to the questions they are still asking three months on.

    Follow Will Swanson on Twitter: @willswanson

    Source: Al Jazeera

  • KDF incompetence

    Security agencies ignored warning of terrorist attack on two occasions

    ANDREW TEYIE

    It is now official: security agencies ignored the warning of an impending terrorist attack two times before the horrific Westgate massacre that killed 67 people and left close to 200 others wounded.

    One of the warnings was issued just 19 days to the attack on September 21 last year, and the other at the beginning of August. Shockingly, police did not move to secure the identified targets.

    It is also official that GSU commandos had managed to corner the terrorists who struck at the upscale mall and that the change-over to the military bungled the operation.

    These are some of the highlights of a report by two parliamentary committees which jointly investigated the mid-morning attack at the Westlands mall that left Kenya and the world in shock.

    The report seen by the Sunday Nation says the attack could have been prevented had security agencies acted on intelligence information in 2012.

    Chillingly, an intelligence report warned about an impending attack on Westgate exactly a year to the day of the attack. The briefing, dated September 21, 2012, said Somali militants from the al-Shabaab terror group were planning to attack the Israeli-owned mall.

    “Another intelligence briefing in February 2013 warned of attacks like those that happened in Mumbai in late 2008, where the operatives storm a building with guns and grenades and probably hold hostages. It is unclear what measures were put in place to prevent the attacks,” says the report.

    The warnings just before the attack were filed on August 6 and September 2.

    “There was general information on the impending terror attack on all the malls and other strategic Western interests, especially in Nairobi. The information was made available to the relevant security officers in Nairobi County on August 6, 2013 and on September 2, 2013,” says the report of the Joint Committee of National Security and Defence and Foreign Relations.

    The committee was co-chaired by MPs Asman Kamama and Ndung’u Gethenji, and tabled the report just before Parliament adjourned in December.

    Experts who appeared before the committee said the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers should not have been deployed at the mall because the GSU Recce squad had already cornered the terrorists by the time soldiers arrived at the scene.

    “Involvement of the military should be a last resort decision, especially if there is external threat to a nation’s security. The presidential directive to have the Inspector-General to take command of the Westgate Mall operation was proper. The Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces should have ordinarily consulted with the Inspector-General of Police and should have withheld the deployment of KDF,” experts told the MPs inquiring into the attack.

    On Saturday, the Leader of Majority in Parliament, Mr Aden Duale, said the report will be discussed when Parliament re-opens next month.

    “The report was tabled in December. We will ensure the House Business Committee gives it priority during the first few days of re-opening of Parliament. The last verdict on the report will be from the House to amend and adopt. I urge members to think about Kenya during the debate,” he said.

    NEW PHENOMENON

    Mr Duale, who is the Garissa Township MP, urged MPs to look at the report with Kenya’s future in mind.

    “Terrorism is a new phenomenon. As a country, we must put in place measures and structures that ensure Westgate does not happen again in Kenya. That is why the House must look at this report keenly,” said Mr Duale in a telephone interview.

    The report confirmed earlier claims that when the terror alerts were sounded, the police were lethargic and unresponsive.

    “There was general laxity and unresponsiveness among the police over terror alerts within Nairobi,” says the report.

    However, during their investigations, Gigiri police chief Vitalis Otieno told MPs that he had no prior knowledge of the attacks.

    The report states that Mr Otieno discounted claims that any terrorism alerts were passed on to them.

    “The OCPD informed the members that he had no such information and that when he got posted (to Gigiri) he met the management of the mall over security issues and was also taken through the mall to carry out security assessments,” says the report.

    Last year, intelligence reports that were leaked to the media showed that Cabinet Secretaries Julius Rotich (Treasury), Joseph ole Lenku (Interior), Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs), Raychelle Omamo (Defence) and KDF chief General Julius Karangi were warned that al-Shabaab fighters were plotting an attack in Nairobi.

    The parliamentary report says failure to heed the warnings resulted in the Mumbai-style attack at the mall.

    The MPs say that although four terror suspects have been identified, the number of terrorists who took part in the attack remains unknown.
    However, the report confirms the suspects seen on CCTV shooting shoppers as Abu Baraal, Al Sudani, Omar Naban and Khatab Al Kene.

    “On Saturday, September 21, 2013, attackers believed to be about 10 or 15 (number yet to be ascertained) stormed Westgate mall and randomly started shooting. About five armed attackers burst through one of the main entrances, guns blazing, while another four entered through an underground parking lot. Explosives also went off in the building causing some floors to cave in. It is not clear who between the terrorists and the security forces set off the explosions,” says the report.

    The four named suspects are believed to have died in the attack. Naban was a relative of Saleh Ali Naban, who was killed in 2009 after US commandos raided an al-Qaeda hideout in Somalia. Saleh Naban was also involved in the 1998 US embassy and Kikambala hotel bombings.

    The MPs also confirmed earlier reports that the Westgate operation was bungled from the outset.

    “During the siege, the Recce Company from the General Service Unit (GSU) had contained the terrorists in one corner of the Westgate mall. There was, however, poor coordination by the multiagency forces during the operation. The change-over between the Kenya Defence Forces and the police was uncoordinated, which calls for the establishment of an incident Command Control Protocol,” says the report.

    The report also talks about uncoordinated reports emanating from the command centre in the aftermath of the siege.

    “There was a lot of miscommunication surrounding the aftermath of the Westgate terror attack going by the reports that the terrorists might have used the underground tunnel reported in the media as the escape route,” says the report.

    The report upholds claims that KDF soldiers looted businesses at the ruined shopping mall.

    “There was looting of business premises within the mall. Action has already been taken on three Kenya Defence Forces soldiers, one Administration Police officer, one Anti-Terror Police Unit officer and one Fire Brigade personnel involved in the looting incident,” details the report.

    KDF has flipped-flopped on this issue that soiled its standing in the public eye. When the reports first emerged, KDF denied the claims. Even Mr Kamama and Mr Gethenji defended the soldiers and Gen Karangi, dismissing the reports as false.

    SPIN DOCTOR

    And when CCTV clips of soldiers leaving the smouldering mall with full shopping bags were broadcast and published, KDF spin doctors claimed the soldiers were helping themselves to water after a day’s work. Under pressure from the public, KDF retreated and charged some officers in Nakuru.

    The report also talks about systemic corruption in the immigration, department of refugee affairs and registration of persons. The latter is in charge of issuing identity cards.

    “There is nationwide systemic failure on the part of the Immigration Services Department, Department of Refugee Affairs; and Registration of Persons Department attributed to corruption at the border control points and registration centres, mainly in Nairobi, Coast and North Eastern areas,” says the report.

    However, it does not say whether the terrorists rented offices at the mall before the attack.

    If adopted by the House, the report is likely to spark debate on the relationship between the various security agencies and their preparedness to defend the country.

    However, the report does not pin-point individual leaders who may have failed to execute their mandate before, during or after the attack.

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