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Allegations of looting by KDF, if true, are appalling

04 October 2013, 16:01 Pancras Mutuma

Since the Westgate mall threat was quelled and the terrorists allegedly killed or arrested and thus the whole debacle ended, or at least the current threat of it, there have been theories and counter-theories about what exactly transpired before, during and after the attack.

Several accounts of the ordeal from the survivors have pointed out that a lady was in charge of the assault and terrorist activity. There have been claims of the terrorists getting away through an underground tunnels have been rife, claims that the government has refuted profusely.

Proper communication in regards to the circumstances surrounding the attack has not been forthcoming. While it is alright to guard the public, it is prudent to also communicate truthful facts during such crises to avert unnecessary panic and tension.

One of the concerns after the siege though is the information that most of the shops at Westgate Mall were looted. Pictures of empty shops clearly depicting post-ransacking and looting have left many Kenyans with more questions than answers. The question of who was responsible remains the million dollar question.

It is difficult to place the blame elsewhere in regards to the looting. Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ole Lenku has been on the record severally to claim that the terrorists were vanquished either by shooting or arrest.

Thus, if these people were arrested and were also responsible for the looting, the items they may have looted should have been found in their procession. Since the mall was cordoned off from the general public and media, the cabinet secretary should then have an answer to the shop owners who now have to contend with losses that some may possibly never recover from.

A police officer was last week arraigned in court over alleged stealing from one of the victims of the shooting. It emerged earlier this week that some of the armed forces sent in to dissolve the terrorists may have indeed taken part in the looting. If these claims are true, then there is a huge problem facing us.

The thought of people that are, and in this case were supposed to be rescuing the Kenyans held hostage inside the mall turning on the same people they are supposed to protect and save to steal from them is revolting and completely inexcusable.

It is important that the government gets to the root of this matter for while we assume that we are safe under our armed forces, we might indeed be in more trouble with them. It is the reason we should really hope that the claims that KDF looted are untrue despite pointers indicating otherwise.

Integrity in service is a virtue that must not only be exemplified by regular citizens in their lines of duty, but also by the armed forces. Because at this rate, the question we all would beg to ask is, where is the integrity?

Pancras Mutuma is a Public Relations Consultant.

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