Amnesty International condemns Westgate attack
24 September 2013, 12:00
Nairobi - Al-Shabaab’s blatant disregard for life in its attack on
the Westgate shopping mall on Saturday is a despicable affront to basic human
rights, Amnesty International said.
“Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the people
of Kenya in the wake of these callous and despicable attacks. This despicable
tragedy touched on people not only in Kenya but much further afield – and the
international community is in solidarity in the wake of the attack,” said Salil
Shetty, Secretary General of the organization.
“Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all those affected by
this violence. We welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to investigate
the attack and bring the perpetrators to account. We urge the Kenyan
authorities to ensure that the investigations are prompt, thorough, independent
and impartial. Any suspects arrested should be brought to trial in line with
international standards,” Shetty added.
According to the Kenya Red Cross, as of Tuesday, about 62
people had died and at least 175 had been injured after a group of 10 or more
armed fighters stormed Westgate shopping mall on Saturday.
Among those reportedly killed was the renowned Ghanaian poet
and former diplomat, Dr Kofi Awoonor.
Amnesty International had campaigned on the poet’s politically motivated
trial in the mid-1970s.
Many foreign nationals also died in the attack at the mall
that is frequented by the elite of Kenyan society as well as many
internationals in the country.
The Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack,
denouncing the Kenyan armed forces’ military intervention against the group
The human rights group pledged its commitment to Kenya
despite the human rights challenges.
“Amnesty International has worked on the human rights
situation in Kenya for more than four decades and has an active national
Section there. The organization is also due to open a regional office in
Nairobi in the coming months,” Shetty said.
Al-Shabaab seeks to impose sharia law within Somalia and
remains engaged in armed conflict in central and southern Somalia with the
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces.
Al-Shabaab has in the past expressed its intent to carry out
reprisal attacks in Kenya. Attacks using hand-grenades and other explosives
have been carried out on Kenyan territory, often thought to be attacks by Al-Shabaab and its sympathisers, but in recent years there has been nothing of
the scale of Saturday’s attack.
- CAJ News