Kenya’s President …announced that his country had ‘ashamed and defeated’ its attackers following the siege on a Nairobi mall that has left 61 civilians and six security officers dead.
Three floors of the Westgate shopping centre collapsed towards the end of the operation by security forces, five alleged terrorists have been killed and there were still at least three bodies in the rubble.
Uhuru Kenyatta – who also declared three days of national mourning – said: ‘Fellow Kenyans, we have been badly hurt and feel great pain and loss – but we have been brave, united and strong.’
He said there were 11 alleged terrorists now in custody, adding: ‘Kenya has stared down great evil and triumphed… We have shamed and defeated our attackers. That part of our task was completed.’
For clarity, Mr Kenyatta said the attack had left 240 casualties, including 61 dead civilians and six of his security forces, adding that five terrorists were killed and another 11 suspects are in custody.
He added: ‘I promise that we shall have full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone as a national family. These cowards will meet justice.’
It came after police said today that Kenyan forces were defusing explosive devices set up by Islamist militants inside the shopping mall where extremists claimed to be still holding hostages.
No details were released about the nature and size of the explosives, but it had added an extra dangerous element to the siege, which dragged on for more than 72 hours.
Kenyan police said on Twitter that the mall was ‘under the full control of govt (government) forces and we are carrying out a sweep to ensure (it’s) safe for everyone.’
But just as police stressed they were in charge of the situation this morning, two senior Kenyan officials told CNN that several gunmen, including snipers, were still inside the four-storey complex.
Al Shabaab also said earlier that its militants were still holding out in the Westgate centre and their hostages were still alive.