Kenyan forces continue battle with terrorists

A stand-off continued at a shopping mall in Nairobi late on 22 September, a day after Somali Islamist group al Shabaab killed at least 68 people and injured 175 in a terrorist attack, Among the dead were the nephew and fiancee of Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Naiorbi authorities said that up to 15 terrorists, among them women, were cornered in the mall's Nakumatt supermarket from where they were exchanging gunfire with Kenyan police and soldiers.

By the evening of 22 September the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) said it had managed to free many of the hostages in the luxurious five-storey mall which is popular with expatriates and westeners and is located in Westlands, an affluent area northwest of the capital's central business district.

However it was thought that about 30 people were still in the hands of the terrorists late Sunday evening, with an unknown number hiding in the building.

Al Shabaab, which is linked to al Qaeda and is battling Kenyan and other African peacekeepers in Somalia, has repeatedly threatened attacks in Kenya – including Westgate – if Kenyan troops were not pulled out of Somalia where they have been stationed for the last two years.

Kenya blames the militants for a spate of shootings, bombings and grenade attacks against its churches and security forces.

French, Canadians and Chinese were confirmed among the dead at Westgate. Ghana has confirmed the its former president of the council of state, one-time ambassador to the UN, poet and author, Kofi Awoonor was killed in the attack and that his son is among the injured. Washington said it had reports that American citizens had been injured, while Britain said its nationals had undoubtedly been affected.

This is the the single biggest terrorist attack in Kenya since al Qaeda's bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, which resulted in 200 deaths.