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Attack organised terror, police say

21 September 2013, 19:52

Nairobi - A well-organised "terror gang" is believed to be behind an armed assault on the Westgate shopping mall, senior police sources said, adding they had also detained one wounded suspect.

"This cannot be a normal robbery because all the survivors are saying how the group confronted them and opened fire," a senior police official said on condition he remained anonymous.

"We have reports there were up to 10 or so attackers and they appeared to be wearing a similar outfit, and others covered their faces," another police official said.

"The pattern of the attack and the way they were speaking to their targets clearly point to a well-planned attack by a terror gang," he said.

However, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said it was still too early to say who was responsible for the attack.


"Investigations have begun to find out the perpetrators of this crime. I urge Kenyans not to speculate," he said in a statement.

Police at the scene said a suspect wounded in the fire-fight had been detained and taken to hospital under armed guard.

"He appears to be a suspect and is being treated as such, he has been taken to hospital and will remain under guard for interrogation," a police officer said.

"The officers who got him out of the building have reason to believe he is one of the attackers," he said on condition he not be named.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said operations to secure the mall were ongoing.

Senior Interior Ministry official Mutea Iringo said "the security services will soon bring this matter of grave concern under control".

Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Nairobi that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said.

The attackers remained inside and firing subsided as military surrounded the mall hours after the attack. People continued to trickle out from hiding places within the Westgate mall, which is frequented by expatriates and rich Kenyans in Nairobi's affluent Westlands neighbourhood.



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