Video suggesting soldiers looted attacked mall angers Kenyans
By Drazen Jorgic, Reuters
October 22, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
NAIROBI -- Security camera footage of soldiers appearing to loot goods during last month's Nairobi shopping mall siege has infuriated Kenyans who had initially praised troops for their courage in battling the Somali attackers.
A front page headline over the weekend in Kenya's biggest selling newspaper The Nation read “Shame of soldiers looting Westgate” under the caption “caught on camera.”
Gunmen from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group massacred at least 67 people when they raided the upmarket Westgate mall, hurling grenades and spraying bullets at shoppers as a punishment for Kenya sending troops to Somalia.
Closed-circuit television footage, distributed by Reuters TV over the weekend, shows soldiers taking goods that appear to be unpacked mobile phone boxes from a phone store while others are in a mobile money transfer shop.
A couple of meters from the shop, a pool of spattered blood identifies the spot where a wounded man, crawling on the floor, was shot five times at point-blank range by an unidentified gunman, another scene captured on video.
Soldiers with plastic shopping bags are also seen leaving the Nakumatt supermarket, where prosperous Kenyans could buy anything from TV sets to French cheese, at a time when the Islamist rebels were still holed up inside the mall.
Emmanuel Chirchir, a spokesman for the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), said on Sunday that a news conference, organized for Wednesday, would deal with looting allegations arising from the latest CCTV footage to emerge.
Kenya's Interior Minister Ole Lenku said three bodies of “terror suspects” had been recovered from the mall during the week and on Sunday the body of what was believed to be a fourth attacker was pulled from the rubble.
Lenku said the government would not comment on the nationalities of the attackers until forensic investigations were complete. Four AK-47 assault rifles and 11 magazines used by the gunmen were also recovered, he added in a statement.