South African man killed in Na

South African man killed in Nairobi mall terrorist attack

At least 59 civilians including a South African have been killed and many others wounded after terrorists stormed The Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital.

South African man killed in Na

westgate mall nairobiThe South African government has condemned the terrorist attack in Nairobi in which a number of civilians including a South African man from Cape Town were killed.

At least 59 people have been killed and 175 others wounded after terrorists stormed an upmarket shopping mall in the Kenyan capital.

President Jacob Zuma said he was shocked by Saturday’s attack against innocent civilians and expressed his condolences to the family of the South African national, as well as to the government and people of Kenya and especially the families of the many deceased; he wished the wounded survivors a speedy recovery.

“South Africa continues to support Kenya’s and the international community’s efforts aimed at peacekeeping, stability, democracy and nation-building in Somalia.

“Terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter, cannot be condoned and South Africa stands firmly with the international community in condemning all terrorism, and this act in particular. We wish the Kenyan government every success in rapidly resolving this issue with as little further loss of life as possible,” said President Zuma.

The South African High Commission in Nairobi is closely monitoring the situation in close liaison with the Kenyan authorities. Consular assistance is being provided to the next of kin of the deceased South African.

Militants from Somalia have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it is retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. An Al-Shabaab spokesman said in an audio message, “Either leave our country or live with constant attacks.”

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in charge of Internal Security, Joseph Ole Lenku, told journalists in Nairobi that the security operation to free hostages still trapped inside the Westgate mall will continue.

“Regrettably, the human loss in the attack also went up overnight. The number of our dead has risen to 59. The number of injured has also risen to 175. Many of the injured were taken to local hospitals, treated and discharged.

“We have established the location of the criminals. It’s a delicate balance and we want to evacuate the hostages safely. We believe there are some people in the building that is why I said the operation is still delicate,” he told journalists on Sunday.

He said the police managed to evacuate more than 1,000 people from the mall overnight, but a number of others still remain. “The operation is in a very delicate stage. Our paramount responsibility is to ensure that our people still held in the Mall come out alive. Our commitment is to save lives,” he said.

The development comes as fierce gunfire was heard from the mall on Sunday as the hostage standoff in Nairobi entered its second day amid heavy security around the building.

According to the latest reports, the slain foreign victims include citizens of Canada, Britain, China, Ghana and Australia.

The Kenya Defence Force entered Somalia two years ago to pursue the militants who had often crossed the border to stage attacks.

Speaking to journalists, Lenku said the authorities believe there are 10 to 15 attackers still in the building.

“We are grateful for all offers of support from individuals and friendly countries we have received. But by and large, this remains a national security operation,” Lenku said.

The government official said he could not disclose who the attackers are at this juncture, terming the security which has been going on for the past 20 hours as very fragile.

“Our priority is to save as many lives as possible. We have established the location of the criminals. This has been a delicate operation because we want to ensure that those still trapped in the mall are safe,” he added.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga condemned the terrorist attack as an act of cowardice and assured the country that security forces are up to task.

“We will not be intimidated. The act was intended to cow the people of Kenyans but the Kenyan spirit is strong. Kenyans should remain as we want to approach this matter in a bi-partisan way,” Odinga told journalists in Nairobi.

He appealed to the international community not to issue travel advisories against Kenya, but work with the government to ensure return to normalcy.

“This is not the time for grandstanding. This is not the time for partisan politics. It is a time to unite the country. This is a tragic moment in Kenya. It has been 15 years since the last terrorist attack that claimed 250 lives,” Odinga said.

Odinga said Saturday’s terrorism attack has evoked the Kenyan spirit and thanked those who have come out to assist in the operation.

“We are united in condemning this cowardly act of terrorism and pledge to work with the President and government. I have had a telephone conversation with the President and we have agreed we will meet often to work out way forward,” Odinga said.