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Al Shabaab questions claims that Westgate attackers were killed

25 February 2014, 10:41 Dennis Omido

Nairobi - Al shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Dheere has questioned government reports that Kenyan soldiers killed the Westgate Mall attackers.

In an exclusive interview with al-Jazeera’s Hamza Mohamed, Dheere said the government did not say the truth about the attack which the group claimed responsibility and from what they said, nothing is believable.

“Look at how many times they went back on what they said. They first said there were 18 individuals in the mall. Then they said they were 15. Another time they said they were 4. Another time they said a woman was leading them. They said they were all dead. Another time they said they were alive. Even when people could hear the bullets, they were saying the fighting was over,” he said.

According to Dheere, the contradicting information from the government sources shows what they say has no basis and that no one can believe.

“In our own time we will say whether the men are alive or not. For the individuals involved and for military reasons we will not disclose now,” he said.

Two weeks ago the army revealed that the bodies of the attackers were in the hands of the FBI.

Military chief Julius Karangi was describing his troops' response to the attack at a forum organised by the media council to review coverage of the incident.

He said his troops finally killed the attackers on the Monday morning, two days after they marched into the Westgate mall on September 21 and sprayed shoppers and staff with machine gun fire.

He said the all-clear was finally given late on Tuesday, September 24, after at least 67 people had been killed.

"After the incident happened on Saturday, we finished them on Monday morning," Karangi told the audience at a Nairobi hotel.
"Their bodies are with the FBI somewhere," he said.

Karangi did not give any further details on the bodies.

All four attackers were ethnic Somalis -- and believed to come from Somalia -- with two of the attackers named as Mohammed Abdinur Said and Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a 23-year old Somali who spent several years in Norway.

After the attack, the Al shabaab said it was a warning to Kenya to pull its troops out of southern Somalia, where they are fighting the extremists as part of an African Union force.

The group said the attackers were from a special suicide squad.

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