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Investigations at Westgate mall over: govt

13 November 2013, 21:03

Nairobi - Detectives scouring Kenya's Westgate shopping mall after September's massacre by Islamist gunmen have completed on-site investigations, the government said Wednesday.

However, with the rear of the four-storey building collapsed after a huge fire sparked by fierce fighting between the militants and security forces, the complex is far from reopening.

"Westgate Mall is no longer a crime scene," government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said. "The rubble has been cleared and it is safe to go back there."

Foreign detectives have been helping Kenyan police scour the charred remains of the mall for evidence.

At least 67 people died in the four-day siege. The Kenyan Red Cross has said about 20 people are still missing.

Interpol is assisting Kenya in trying to identify four bodies recovered from the ruins and suspected to be the gunmen.

All the gunmen in the Westgate attack -- totalling just four, not the dozen that security forces had initially reported -- are understood to have died in the attack.

Four men have also been charged with helping the attackers, all pleading not guilty.

Witnesses in the mall described how the fighters stormed the crowded complex, firing from the hip and hurling grenades at shoppers and staff.

The gunmen coldly executed scores of people, with witnesses recounting how in some cases they called out to the wounded, then shot them at close range.

The attack was claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels.

Kenya invaded neighbouring Somalia to attack Shebab bases two years ago, and later joined the 17,700-strong African Union force deployed in the country.




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