questions, questions

71 Still Missing as Questions Grow on Kenya Mall Attack
Jason Ditz,, Sep 26 2013

The official story on Kenya’s Westgate Mall attack is that 67 people were killed and that number is “not expected to increase significantly.” That’s a flat-out lie, according to aid workers at the scene. Rather, the number of missing continues to grow, with the Kenyan Red Cross saying 71 people are still unaccounted for, many of them believed to be buried in the rubble of the mall. That toll is going to be a huge issue for the Kenyatta government, especially since it can’t seem to get its story straight on how the collapse that pinned so many people within occurred. During yesterday’s declarations of “victory,” the Kenyatta government insisted that for some unknown reason, the Jihadis started the fire that caused the collapse. Yet earlier in the week, top officials had claimed that Kenyan security forces started the fire as a “tactic” during the multi-day siege. Setting a mall full of hostages on fire doesn’t seem like a great tactic to begin with, but if indeed it ended up crushing a large number of those hostages to death, it is going to increase questions.


Hostages were tortured before they were killed, says police doctor
Catrina Stewart, Independent (UK), Sep 26 2013

A police doctor scouring Nairobi’s Westgate mall for bodies has said victims were tortured before they died, according to a Kenyan newspaper. The doctor, a forensics expert, told The Star newspaper:

Those are not allegations. Those are fucking truths. They removed balls, eyes, ears, nose. They get your hand and sharpen it like a pencil then they tell you to write your name with the blood. They drive knives inside a child’s body. Actually, if you look at all the bodies, unless those ones that were escaping, fingers are cut by pliers, the noses are ripped by pliers.

The information could not be independently verified, but William Pike, the British editor of The Star, said the reporters working on the story had been given similar accounts from other sources. Pike said:

We have the doctor on a recording. He was talking very graphically, and he was very angry.

Police have asked for patience as they begin searching for bodies. Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku has said that an “insignificant” number of bodies are still trapped. Kenya’s Red Cross says that 71 people are still listed as missing. Ghoulish accounts on the fate of the hostages have circulated Nairobi and there have been claims that the military was forced to blow up part of the Westgate complex not just to bring the siege to an end, but to end the appalling suffering of hostages amid reports that hostages were raped, and others beheaded and their heads thrown out of the windows. None of these reports could be verified amid what is a febrile atmosphere in the city. Kenyan authorities are also facing questions over whether they had any intelligence on an impending attack. Kenya’s National Intelligence Agency, widely accused by politicians of failing to pick up chatter about the attack, has insisted it did warn the police and officials inside the President’s office before the Westgate siege, but its warnings went unheeded, The Star reported. According to the same report, a pregnant policewoman avoided Westgate after her brother, who works for Kenyan intelligence, warned her of a terror attack. A senior officer was quoted as saying:

She has told police that her brother who is a NIS officer warned her not to visit Westgate that Saturday because she would not be able to run.

Horrific claims of torture emerge as soldiers reveal gory details
Paul Bentley, Daily Mail (UK), Sep 26 2013

Soldiers told of the horrific torture meted out by terrorists in the Nairobi mall massacre yesterday with claims hostages were dismembered, had their eyes gouged out and were left hanging from hooks in the ceiling. Men were said to have been castrated and had fingers removed with pliers before being blinded and hanged. Children were found dead in the food court fridges with knives still embedded in their bodies, it was claimed. Most of the defeated terrorists, meanwhile, were reportedly discovered ‘burnt to ashes’, set alight by the last extremist standing to try to protect their identities. The horrifying details came yesterday as the first pictures emerged from within the wreckage of the building, showing piles of bodies left strewn across the floor. A third of the mall was destroyed in the battle between terrorists and Kenyan troops. Lying in the rubble are feared to be the bodies of as many as 71 civilians who have been declared missing by the Kenyan Red Cross. With detectives, including the FBI and the Metropolitan Police, still unable to reach the wrecked part of the mall for fear of setting off explosives, it could take up to a week to determine exactly who is still inside. Yesterday, soldiers and doctors who were among the first people into the mall after it was reclaimed on Tuesday, spoke of the horrifying scenes inside. One Kenyan doctor, who asked not to be named, said:

You find people with hooks hanging from the roof. They removed eyes, ears, nose. They get your hand and sharpen it like a pencil then they tell you to write your name with the blood. They drive knives inside a child’s body. Actually if you look at all the bodies, unless those ones that were escaping, fingers are cut by pliers, the noses are ripped by pliers. Here it was pain.

A soldier, who took pictures at a bread counter and at the ArtCaffe, said he was so traumatised by what he saw he has had to seek counselling. Bomb disposal experts with sniffer dogs were yesterday painstakingly combing the part of the building still standing for explosives before clearing forensic officers, police and troops to search for bodies. Images also emerged yesterday revealing the true extent of the destruction caused to the centre during the four-day battle between Kenyan forces and Islamic militants. The first pictures taken inside the site show a gaping hole in the mall’s roof after three storeys collapsed when Kenyan soldiers fired RPGs inside the complex, knocking out a support column, a government official said. Children’s buggies are left abandoned just metres from the yawning pit, as cars hang precariously over the edge. Beneath many more vehicles lie on top of each other, smashed to pieces. The collapse happened on Monday when government troops launched a massive assault on the mall where up to 150 people are thought to have been killed. During the firefight, hostages reportedly had their throats slashed from ear to ear and were thrown screaming from third-floor balconies as the siege came to a bloody end. Forensics teams, still sifting through the mountains of rubble, fear many more bodies are yet to be found. Shell-shocked Kenyan troops said the inside of the Israeli-run mall resembled a ‘scene from a horror movie’ with blood spattered everywhere and dead bodies strewn across the floor. One soldier told the Daily Mirror:

I have seen many bad things, but this will haunt me for the rest of my days.

The main thrust of the operation began at 6am on Monday when troops and helicopters surrounded the building, but their efforts were hampered by an Al Shabaab sniper who managed to pin them back for nearly 24 hours. As tear gas was used to try to flush him out, another terrorist reportedly blew himself up. It is believed the resulting fire may have killed dozens of shoppers in a supermarket. The following day, the soldiers were ordered to adopt a ‘shoot to kill’ policy and launched their final attack on the terror group on the roof of the mall at 5pm. The mall was retaken about half an hour later. Between 10 and 15 terrorists are thought to have stormed the mall on Saturday, according to Kenyan officials. The police said five insurgents were killed in the battle and at least 10 taken into custody.

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