|Two police officers shot dead in the attack PHOTO:STANDARD|
By CYRUS OMBATI
Nairobi,KENYA; Two policemen were among the 30 killed in yesterday’s Westgate attack. The gunmen believed to be terrorists shot and killed at least 30 people and injured more than 200 others when they stormed into a busy shopping mall in Nairobi in what is believed to be a revenge mission.
The gunmen used automatic rifles and grenades to kill and maim in a daylight attack that brought business at one of the busiest malls to a standstill. One believed to be one of the gunmen was shot and wounded in the leg before being arrested and later admitted in hospital where he was under heavy guard.
Officials said they recovered a weapon from him that pointed to “a serious” indication on the attack and that he is a Kenyan. The building is run and managed by a group of Israelis and is usually busy and was thought to be one of the secured ones.
Survivors said the gunmen told them they were on a revenge mission over unknown reasons.
All manner of people, including VIPs, were present when the siege started. Two other officers were injured in the attack as they also went to rescue the hostages who were inside. One of the officers said he had come face-to-face with one of the gunmen and was heavily armed and dressed in armoured jungle uniform.
The gunmen were holed up inside the Nakumatt Supermarket, which is one of the busiest shops within the building. The officer who sustained injuries in the hand and leg said he clashed with the gunmen at a corner that usually sells mattresses before he was ambushed.
“He shot me as I approached the scene and all I remember he had bullet proof clothes on him. He was carrying a rifle,” he said as he was being taken into an ambulance. There was more panic when smoke started to billow from the building amid claims the gang had started it. The fire was, however, contained minutes later by a fire engine.
The gang seemed to be well coordinated after they grabbed a police communication gadget from one of the officers. This gave them an advantage as they could monitor police operations from outside.
The military were called to the operation and arrived at the scene in all manners. Some were on air surveying the area and some came in special armoured vehicles. Witnesses said the gunmen struck from the front and rear side of the building. They first attacked a café that is at the entrance of the mall with gunfire and a grenade before they proceeded inside. In the meantime, another group of two were getting into the mall’s parking yard using the main parking entrance. At the gate, they first killed a manager with the Securex security group before they walked upstairs where a party was being hosted by the Radio Africa Group’s East FM.
According to Jackson Mwema, a driver who survived, his four bosses were killed at close range.
“They were asking our names and demanding that we read some information I cant understand,” said Mwema. He added he survived because the attackers concentrated on his bosses.