Monday, September 23, 2013

23-Sep-13: Scenes from Nairobi

Outside Nairobi's Westgate Mall today [Image Source: Telegraph UK]
Some Nairobi vignettes via the BBC:
  • "A witness who survived the shopping mall siege said the gunmen were asking people to recite a Muslim shahada (testimonial to being a Muslim - "I testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Prophet of God"), according to Kenyan newspaper The Standard, seen by BBC Monitoring. The woman said she quickly memorised it with the help of a colleague. "When I mentioned the first word of the Shahada, they moved on. That is how I survived," she said."
  • "Karen Allen BBC News, Nairobi One security official has told me this incident will come to be seen as a massive intelligence failure. The Kenyan authorities will have to answer questions about how much they knew in advance. How were so many gunmen able to storm this building - such a high-profile, upmarket building - despite there being real concerns for some time that it was a prime terror target?"
  • "Frank Gardner BBC security correspondent This incident is grimly reminiscent of the Mumbai attacks in 2008. The authorities always feared something like that would happen again and now it has."
  • "Jon Williams, foreign editor at ABC, tweets: US Embassy officials had expressed concerns over faulty security at #Westgate Mall to Kenyan authorities."
  • Michael Shuval Producer, BBC Arabic tweets: Senior Israeli security official: "There are no Israeli soldiers fighting in #Kenya. There are no Israeli hostages in the mall."
  • "Yolande Knell Middle East correspondent, BBC News, in Jerusalem: There have been warnings in the past from Israeli authorities that the Westgate centre could be a target because of its Israeli connections. Its owner is Israeli as are the owners of various businesses within it. There is also a history of attacks on Israeli interests in Kenya. In 2002, Islamic extremists attacked the Israeli-owned Paradise hotel, killing 10 Kenyans and three Israelis."
  • "1049: Emily Buchanan BBC world affairs correspondent writes: "The attack has particular power because everyone can imagine being a victim. Those killed were just ordinary shoppers and this was a very soft target. These militants are not fighting a battle against the Kenyan army - these were unarmed civilian
  • "0935: The Nairobi attackers have been using shoppers as human shields, the Daily Nation newspaper, seen by BBC Monitoring, reports. The paper quotes a police officer who says his colleagues were forced to hold fire when they chased gunmen to the first floor of the centre where they were herding women and children."

No comments: