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CCTV cameras show Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall attack was executed by 10 to 15 criminals

By - CYRUS OMBATI | Updated Mon, September 23rd 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By CYRUS OMBATI

NAIROBI; KENYA: Between 10 and 15 terrorists were involved in the attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi, where more than 60 people were killed and more than 60 wounded.

Some of them were armed with grenades, automatic rifles with a chain of bullets and pistols when they arrived at about 11am on Saturday.

A review of CCTV cameras at the mall revealed the gunmen gained entry into the area through two main areas. They are believed to have been dropped outside the mall by three saloon cars.

The Kenya Defence Forces and special police forces accessed the room yesterday and managed to get a glimpse of what happened before, during and after the siege.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku confirmed they were in charge of the CCTV room and the review of the footage was helping them piece together the events that took place.

The footage confirmed witnesses and victims accounts that 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.

At the same time, another group of four wearing turbans accessed the mall through the main parking entrance.

At the parking gate, they first killed a manager with the Securex Group before they walked upstairs through the ramp to where a party was being hosted by the Radio Africa Group’s East FM.

Several students

At the yard, there were several students and other guests who were attending the party.

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 couldn’t understand,” said Mwema. He added he survived because the attackers concentrated on his bosses.

At the parking yard, the CCTV shows the attackers lobbing two grenades at crowds but only one exploded. Police later collected the unexploded one.

At the rear entrance, they used an automatic rifle to force it open after lobbing the first grenade that caused panic and led to closure of the doors.

They spent a long time in the parking yard where they killed a pregnant woman who tried to argue with them, the cameras reveal.

Inside they also opened fire at the shoppers after separating them on gender and age among other factors.

They were seen pointing guns at people at close range while shouting.

A witness claimed one of the gunmen asked him to recite a Muslim Shahada in the confusion.

The woman said she had just crammed the Shahada after her colleague informed her that is what they (gunmen) wanted to hear if she was to survive.

“When I mentioned the first word of the Shahada, they moved on. That is how I survived,” she said.

In the meantime, another gang of more than 10 gunmen was busy on the front side of the mall killing people.

Most of the dead were shot at a café near the main entrance. They then walked inside while shooting indiscriminately.

“The gang was armed with rifles which gave them an advantage over the others who tried to engage them. This gave them time and space to shoot,” said a witness who was armed at the scene.

They were at one point seen shooting indiscriminately at a crowd after a licensed gun holder tried to engage them.

They then moved upstairs to the first floor as their accomplices who had accessed the building through the rear doors also came down.

Food court

The first floor hosts a food court which was busy at that time. The gunmen opened more fire at patrons. Other gunmen were seen firing at doors of washrooms after learning most people were taking refuge there. As the siege continued, the gunmen were seen retreating into the supermarket as a lull fell. Others took refuge in a cinema hall there.

Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo is among those who arrived at the scene while armed with an AK 47 rifle.