Nairobi attack: Foreign experts join Kenya forensic hunt

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New footage from inside Westgate shows a family being rescued

Kenya’s investigation into a bloody siege by Islamist militants in Nairobi has been joined by experts from the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Interpol.

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Forensic experts are combing the Westgate shopping complex for DNA and ballistic clues, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said.

He confirmed that five militants were dead and said the bodies of more were expected to be found.

Funerals are continuing to be held for the 67 civilian and military victims.

Mary Italo mourns the death of her son, Nairobi, 25 September 2013 Relatives have been identifying the bodies of those killed in the attack
Alyaz Merali, who was injured in the attack, 25 September 2013 Alyaz Merali, wounded in the attack, took part in a funeral procession for his mother, who was killed
Traders sell wreaths outside Nairobi's City Mortuary, 25 September 2013 Traders were selling wreaths outside Nairobi’s City Mortuary
Nuns pray in Nairobi, 25 September 2013 Nuns prayed near the Westgate shopping centre on Wednesday morning

“We have moved to the next phase,” Mr Lenku told a news briefing in Nairobi, saying that he expected the forensic audit to take at least seven days.

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Analysis

image of Will Ross Will Ross BBC News, Nairobi

Throughout the crisis the Red Cross was registering people as missing as friends and relatives gave details – is it possible that some of those on the list were later found or sadly died and were not removed?

The Red Cross had mentioned at least 50, possibly more than 60, people unaccounted for. Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said there could still be bodies under the rubble but described the number as “insignificant”, and suggested they were more likely to be of the gunmen themselves.

Nothing really was said today that President Uhuru Kenyatta hadn’t said almost 24 hours ago. By saying it will take at least seven days until the forensic results are out – it was partly a way of telling the world: “Sorry we’re not going to tell you any more for a while.”

He said he did not expect the death toll to rise significantly.

Several bodies are thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed. Mr Lenku said he only expected bodies of militants to be found.

Work is continuing to establish their identities, including whether one was a woman, he added. saying: “We want to again request you to allow the forensic experts to determine whether that is true.”

Mr Lenku said he was unable to confirm whether there were any Britons or Americans involved, but said that 10 people were being held in connection with the attack.

Counter-claims

Flags flew at half-mast across Kenya on Wednesday, as three days of national mourning began.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately at shoppers and staff.

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“Start Quote

I never realised how loud a gun was and how scary”

Zachary Yach, survivor

Twitter posts on an al-Shabab account said the group’s militants had held 137 people hostage, and claimed the hostages had died after security forces fired chemical agents to end the siege.

The posts could not be verified. A government spokesman denied any chemical agents were used, and authorities called on Kenyans to ignore militant propaganda.

Both sides blamed the other for causing part of the shopping centre to collapse.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

Graphic

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Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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