Kenya mall attack probe in final phase

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 23, 2013 14:20 hrs

Nairobi, Oct 23 (IANS) The Kenyan police Wednesday said investigations into the terror attack on an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi last month are in their final stages.

Xinhua quoted David Kimaiyo, inspector general of police, as telling journalists in Nairobi that the government will soon issue a comprehensive report on forensic investigations into the Westgate shopping mall attack.

Kimaiyo also disclosed that investigators are questioning eight key suspects in connection with the attack who will be arraigned in the court once investigations have been completed.

"The police have talked to many suspects but we are now holding eight principle ones who will soon be charged in court," the police chief said.

Kenyan security agencies are conducting investigations along with experts from Germany, Israel, the US and Britain.

"The suspects were arrested in and out of Nairobi in the ongoing operation since the Sep 21 attack," Kimaiyo added, without disclosing the identities of the suspects and their role in the attack.

Al Qaeda-allied Somali militants claimed responsibility for the Westgate attacks, in which 67 people were killed and 175 others injured, according to official statistics.

The victims include some Indian citizens and a large number of Kenyans of Indian origin.

Kimaiyo said forensic experts are now focusing on the four bodies believed to be of the terrorists who might have been killed during the four-day siege.

Kimaiyo said they have established that some Al Shabaab sympathizers who are Kenyans contributed money to facilitate the attack but did not elaborate.

"We have also arrested and arraigned a man who sent an SMS and posted in social media reports that there was an impending attack on Jomo Kenyatta International Airport during the night shift," he added.

The police chief also denied reports that Samantha Lewthwaite, the wanted British woman who was mentioned in the attack, may have rented a house and stayed near Junction Mall for up to seven months in 2011.

"We are hearing it from you. We are not aware Samantha was here or lived near Junction. All we know is that the woman is a wanted criminal in connection with an offence that was committed in Mombasa," he said.

His remarks come after local media reported that the woman may have stayed in a rented apartment less than 100 metres from another shopping mall in Nairobi.

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