The death toll from an attack by Somali militants on a Nairobi shopping mall has reached 59 as an unknown number of hostages are still being held in the Westgate center.
Kenya’s Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said on Sunday, “We still have hostages in the mall, and this makes the operation delicate. We have 59 people who have been killed so far.”
Lenku also confirmed that at least 175 people were injured in the attack that began at about 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) on Saturday.
Lenku added that about 1,000 people have been rescued, but there are still a number of hostages held by attackers inside the Westgate mall.
“A number of attackers are still in the building, and range between ten to fifteen gunmen,” the Kenyan minister stated.
“We believe there are some innocent people in the building, that is why the operation is delicate.”
An operation is underway by police and soldiers to bring an end to the stand-off.
An al-Shabab spokesman said in a statement issued on Saturday night that his group was behind the attack.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier pledged to “hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to.”
Kenya has stationed 4,000 troops in the south of Somalia in support of Somali government against the militants since 2011.
The Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that gets training and equipment from the United States.
By Press TV
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