Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group took dozens of people hostage, among them foreigners, after seizing the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, killing at least 69 people.
Monday, September 23
08:49 GMT: At least 69 people are confirmed to have been killed and 63 more recorded missing in the attack, Kenya Red Cross said Monday. The 63 recorded missing are thought to include both hostages still being held by Islamist militants, as well as those possibly killed in the three-day-long siege.
06:48 GMT: International Criminal Court proceedings for the trial of Kenya’s deputy president have been put on a week’s hold as a result of the hostage crisis, Reuters reports.
06: 38 GMT: Two blasts accompanied by brief gunfire were heard from inside the Nairobi mall, according to a Reuters witness.
The news comes as Israeli advisers are aiding Kenyan forces with developing a strategy to end the siege, after having earlier tried and failed to enter the building.
“Israelis and Kenyan forces have tried to enter Westgate (mall) by force but they could not, the mujahideen (fighters) will kill the hostages if the enemies use force,” Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, Al-Shabaab spokesman said earlier in clip posted on the website www.somalimemo.net
05:40 GMT: The militants have threatened to kill hostages as a result of the Kenyan troops moving in on their positions inside the mall, Al-Shabaab spokesman said, according to Naharnet.
05:38 GMT: As Reuters journalists reported bursts of rifle fire from inside the Westgate complex, there also appeared to be clashes taking place inside the building, according to Abbas Guled of the Kenyan Red Cross.
As day broke, following a quiet night, Reuters journalists near the upmarket Westgate complex heard bursts of rifle fire and muffled blasts. A Kenyan Red Cross official, Abbas Guled, said there appeared to be clashes inside the building.
03:20 GMT: There are reports of heavy gunfire being heard from inside the Westgate shopping mall, according to AFP. A security source told the news agency that an assault is underway.
Sunday, September 22
23:54 GMT: The shopping mall siege is not over yet, BBC quoted Kenya’s military as saying. The military added that the top priority is getting the hostages out alive, which makes the operation very delicate.
22:57 GMT: US Secretary of State John Kerry said the attack demonstrates the “seriousness” of the threat posed by Somali militants. The US has increased its security in response to the attack by“ruthless and completely reckless terrorists.”
22:54 GMT: The FBI has begun investigating whether Americans were involved in the Nairobi mall attack based on terrorists’ tweets, sources told NBC News.
22:01 GMT: A Kenyan military spokesman confirmed that “around 10” hostages are still being held by militants inside the Nairobi mall. Also, AP cited the spokesperson as saying that most of the rescued hostages were adults.
21:28 GMT: Among the dead is a 38-year-old Chinese woman. Her son was injured and is currently in hospital in a stable condition, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said in a statement.
21:24 GMT: Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that a dual Australian-UK national was killed in the shopping mall siege.
21:06 GMT: Kenyan military spokesperson Colonel Cyrus Oguna confirmed that “most of the hostages have been released, and the Kenya Defence Forces has taken control of most parts of the building” where at least 68 people were killed.
20:40 GMT: Four military personnel were injured during the latest rescue operation, Kenya Defence Forces stated.
20:37 GMT: Kenyan authorities have regained control of most of the mall and have rescued most of the hostages, Kenya Defence Forces tweeted.
19:55 GMT: At least four American citizens were injured in the attack in Kenya, the US State Department said in a statement. The wife of a foreign service national working for the US Agency for International Development was killed, US officials said.
18:15 GMT: The death toll in the Westgate mall siege has risen to 68 after nine more bodies were brought out from the building, Kenya’s Red Cross said on its Twitter account.
17:50 GMT: One of the victims of the terrorist attack was Peruvian doctor Juan Jesús Ortiz, former deputy head of the Kenyan branch of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Ortiz’s daughter was injured during the attack. The 63-year-old physician was a UNICEF consultant on issues of public health systems.
17:00 GMT: Kenyan troops have launched an assault on cornered Somali militants holding people hostage in the Westgate shopping mall.
“Godspeed to our guys in the Westgate building,” Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre said in a message on Twitter. “Major engagement ongoing.”
16:55 GMT: US President Barack Obama called Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to say that the US will support Kenya’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the shopping mall attack to justice.
16:00 GMT: Former Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, said that the militants had established contact with the country’s authorities. He did not mention the attackers’ demands.
Beside Kenyans, among the victims of the attack are also citizens of France, the UK, Canada, China, South Korea and India and a prominent African poet from Ghana, Kofi Awoonor.
15:47 GMT: ‘A big blast’‘occurred at the Westgate shopping mall, AP’s correspondent Jason Straziuso reported on his Twitter account. He added that the cause of the explosion was unknown.
15:30 GMT: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram of condolence to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying Russia strongly condemns this act of terrorism, the Kremlin’s press-service reported.
15:14 GMT: Security forces have “a good chance” of neutralizing the attackers at the shopping mall, said Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The criminals are now located in one place within the building. With the professionals on site, I assure Kenyans that we have as good a chance to successfully neutralize the terrorists as we can hope for,”he told reporters.
An image grab taken from AFP TV shows Kenyan policemen and soldiers taking position following an attack by Somali militants on September 21, 2013 inside the Westgate mall in Nairobi. (AFP Photo / Nichole Sobecki)
Kenyatta also said his nephew and the nephew’s fiancée were among the 59 confirmed killed.
“Soon we will severely punish the organizers,” the President said. “They have to pay for their unworthy and brutal actions.”
The government also received reports of both male and female attackers, consistent with accounts given by witnesses who said they saw women involved.
15:00 GMT: Britain’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday that three Britons were among the dead. Meanwhile, earlier two French citizens were confirmed dead in the attack, France’s presidential office stated. Also, two Canadians have been killed, including one diplomat, according to Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
13:00 GMT: Nairobi Hospital is reporting that the facility has run out of blood bags, although the number of willing donors remains high, Kenya’s Ministry of Interior posted on its Twitter account.