30 Sep 2013

Dozens still missing after Kenya terror attack – Red Cross

Nearly 40 people are still missing following the four-day terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping centre, the Kenyan Red Cross says, despite the government’s claims to the contrary.

As investigators continue to search the rubble of the Westgate mall, the Kenyan Red Cross released a report saying that 39 people are still missing.

‘No hostages’

On Sunday, Kenya’s Interior Minister, Joseph ole Lenku, told reporters that the government had no missing persons reports from the shopping centre.

He also reiterated the government’s position that it does not think any hostages will be found inside the mall.

The only way to verify this is when the government declares the Westgate Mall 100 percent cleared. Abbas Gullet, Kenyan Red Cross

Three floors of the building collapsed towards the end of the siege, and the government has said this was caused by security forces firing rocket-propelled grenades in order to distract an al-Shabaab gunman.

“We think – unless the forensic investigation shows otherwise – we really do think that there were weren’t any hostages,” Mr ole Lenkua said.

Open cases

However, the Red Cross report said it still has a number of “open cases”.

“The only way to verify this is when the government declares the Westgate mall 100 per cent cleared – then we can resolve it,” Abbas Gullet, Kenya Red Cross secretary general, said.

The Red Cross figure for missing persons has been falling over the past week, and was at 59 on Friday. Mr Gullet said the number was falling as bodies were positively identified, and as families were reunited with missing loved ones.

As of Monday, however, the Nairobi city morgue had no remaining bodies from the Westgate attack.

Anger has also been growing in Nairobi at what are perceived to be failures of the security services in relation to the atrocity.

Six members of the security services and 61 civilians were killed in the four-day terror attack by jihadist group al-Shabaab. Five of the attackers were also reported to have been killed and one is believed to be under the rubble.

Last week Channel 4 News revealed the identity of the alleged leader of the attack.