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House team told Kenya Defence Forces yet to find bodies of five Westgate Mall attackers

By - GEOFFREY MOSOKU and CYRUS OMBATI | Published Tue, October 1st 2013 at 00:00, Updated October 1st 2013 at 00:12 GMT +3
MPs led by Westlands lawmaker Tim Wanyoyi and ChairmanNational Security Committee in Parliament Asman Kamama adress the Press after visiting the Westgate Mall Monday.  [PHOTO: TABITHA OTWORI/STANDARD]


The mystery of Westgate terror attack deepened Monday as it emerged that State has not retrieved five bodies of attackers who were killed last week.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Monday revealed to MPs that they suspected the gunmen had retreated to one corner, where they died and their bodies are covered by rubble.

“There is stench from the area covered by rubble and the military has informed us that they suspect the five bodies of the terrorists are stuck there,” Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno said.

Otieno said after touring the ill-fated mall, KDF had told them they were moving with speed to clear the rubble and recover the bodies, which will help forensic experts who were still combing the area to gather crucial evidence.

The revelation raises more questions over the progress of investigation to unearth the perpetrators of the terror attack that led to the death of 67 people.

On Sunday, Interior Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Lenku reiterated the government’s position that five terrorists had been felled by gunfire but refused to divulge any information on whether the State was in possession of the bodies.

Special forces from KDF, Interpol and forensic experts from the US, UK, Germany and Israel and local investigators were still at the mall as the probe intensified.

 And Monday, a joint Parliamentary Committee of Defence and National Security began a probe into the Westgate attack, with claims and counter accusations between government agencies over the manner in which the operation was handled.

Intelligence lapses

The MPs say they will inquire into all questions that have been raised, from intelligence lapses and the operation that lasted for four days.

MPs will further seek to establish if the speedy deployment of the military derailed the operation, after a senior GSU officer who was commanding the elite Recce squad was fatally shot by what is said to be a ‘friendly fire’ by the military, at a time when police had taken control of 70 per cent of the mall and pushed the terrorists to one corner.

Defence Committee Chairman Nung’u Githinji and his National Security counterpart Asman Kamama said they will summon all top security chiefs involved in the operation and any member of the public who may have useful information.

The parliamentary committee has also extended its mandate to investigate massive looting in the mall in the aftermath of the attack after the public and police were ordered out.

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