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What we know about the Westgate mall attack nine years later

by Chief Okuzo

Today 21st September 2022 marks exactly nine years since the Westgate mall attack took place, an attack that claimed the lives of 67 people. One of the survivors of the brutal attack identified as Ben Mulwa, a consultant about governance in the office of the governor of Kilifi County, reminisces how he found himself at the mall and what transpired next that shook the whole country.

Mr. Mulwa says that he had gone for lunch with his friends at the mall when they heard gunshots but never paid attention to them, all hell broke loose when they heard three extra gunshots and saw security guards taking off, Ben Mulwa in the company of his friends ran to their car and hid from the attackers.

I immediately saw men wearing bullet belts while carrying Ak47s shooting randomly at people inside the mall, one of the security guards was shot right in front of me, the gunman then pointed his gun on me but with coincident it missed me I laid down and till to date I do not know whether he left me on the assumption that he shot me or not, Ben narrates.

Ben adds that he was later rescued by officers who asked them to come out of their hiding, he was then rushed to the hospital only to find out that he had a bullet wound on his leg, he was then discharged after the bullet wound had been attended to by medics.

Ben further thanked God for saving him from the Jaws of death as he also urged citizens to take it upon themselves the responsibility to counter any violent extremism.

Big reveal about the Westgate terror attack

A new report released by the UN Security Council Monitoring Group says that the attackers had eight mobile numbers and a network of potentially Somalia-linked numbers. Out of the eight numbers, seven were located around the  Westgate scene on either 21 September or through to 23 September 2013 and five of the numbers were switched on within the attack phase between 17 and 21 September 2013 in Eastleigh in Nairobi.

The report also reveals that six of the same numbers were registered under Swahili names and also the same six numbers were registered with Mpesa money transfer service but with Somali names. This suggested that there was possible collusion of mobile phone vendors.

The UN security council report also suggested that the terrorists adopted the tradecraft of borrowing mobile handsets as part of their preparation for the attack.

After a thorough investigation by the Kenyan intelligence team, three men were arrested over links to the terror attack. Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa were charged with planning and committing acts of terror, as well as supporting and helping a terrorist group while the third suspect, Liban Abdullahi, was found not guilty.



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