Kenya won’t spare perpetrators of Nairobi attack, Kenyatta says

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has strongly condemned Saturday’s blatant attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that left dozens of people dead, vowing to hunt down and punish the perpetrators.

The Kenyan president said in a televised address on Saturday night that at least 39 people had been killed, including close members of his own family, and more than 150 others injured in the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall.

Kenyatta said Kenyan security forces were “in the process of neutralizing the attackers and securing the mall”.

“We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime,” he added.

“We have overcome terrorist attacks before. We will defeat them again,” Kenyatta said.

“I myself have lost loved ones in the Westgate attack,” he revealed.

“They want to cause fear and despondency in our country, but we will not be cowed,” Kenyatta said, referring to Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters who claimed responsibility for the assault and warned the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from their country.

“Terrorism is a philosophy of cowards,” the Kenyan leader noted.

An al-Shabab spokesman said in a statement issued on Saturday night that his group was behind the attack.

“The Christian government of Kenya invaded our country in October 2011 killing many innocent civilians with their military jets,” Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said.

“We have warned Kenya of that attack but it ignored (us), still forcefully holding our lands … while killing our innocent civilians,” Rage said.

“This led the Mujahideen to wage revenge attacks on Kenya. Today, a unit of al-Shabab al-Mujahideen attacked an important center for Kenya, taking control of it,” he added.

“If you want Kenya in peace, it will not happen as long as your boys are in our lands,” Rage said in the statement.

Kenya has more than 4,000 army soldiers in southern Somalia, where they have been battling the al-Shabab fighters since 2011.

The Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that gets training and equipment from the United States.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

However, MPs meeting in Mogadishu elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president of Somalia with a big majority in September 2012.

The weak Western-backed government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for more than six years and is propped up by the 10,000-strong AMISOM force from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, and Kenya.

Meanwhile, the United States said several Americans were also injured in Saturday’s attack in Nairobi.

“The perpetrators of this heinous act must be brought to justice, and we have offered our full support to the Kenyan government to do so,” US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

“This cowardly act against innocent civilians will not shake our resolve,” she added.

By Press TV


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