Nairobi, September 26 (RHC)-- Kenyan officials say the government has launched an investigation into a four-day siege at a partly Israeli-owned shopping mall in Nairobi that killed at least 72 people and destroyed part of the complex.
The officials said on Wednesday that U.S., British and Israeli agencies are helping the eastern African country in the probe. A day earlier, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that security forces had defeated Somalia's al-Shabab fighters at the shopping center popular with rich Kenyans and foreigners.
According to reports, the dead also included three British nationals, two French women, two Canadian citizens, including a diplomat, a Chinese woman, two Indians, a Ghanaian poet, a South Korean, a South African, and a Dutch woman.
Al-Shabab officials have claimed responsibility for the assault and warned the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from their country. Late on Wednesday night, al Shabab leader Ahmed Godane confirmed that the group was behind the attack on the mall, saying the raid was in retaliation for the Kenyan military's invasion of southern Somalia in October 2011.
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.
Meanwhile, the African Union and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan have strongly condemned the terrorist attack against innocent civilians in Westgate Shopping Mall, which caused the loss of many lives.
The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed solidarity of the AU with the government and peoples of Kenya and presented the AU’s heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
Annan said he was shocked and horrified by the brutal attack against innocent people in the Westgate Shopping Mall, expressing his deepest condolences.
Annan added that those who have committed the terrible crime must be brought to justice as swiftly as possible. The former head of the United Nations said: “Let us all reaffirm our commitment to work for peace, tolerance and justice for all."
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