Detectives put Westgate Shopping Mall tenants on spot as investigation takes new turn

Family escape from Westgate Mall during the 2013 SEPTEMBER 21 terror attack in Kenya
By CYRUS OMBATI

Detectives want to talk to all tenants of the Westgate Shopping Mall as part of efforts to trace terrorists who attacked it.

This comes amid speculation some of the attackers could have been tenants at the mall.

They had hired shops at the mall to help them map it and plan well in readiness for the assault.

“That is one of the theories we are pursuing because there are claims some were tenants of one of the shops,” said a senior officer aware of the probe.

Police say the attackers seem to know the shop well because of the manner in which they have engaged them. The probe may however, take long given the police must investigate all tenants.

The mall was among those that had been previously targeted.

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In July last year, two Iranian terror suspects were arraigned on accusations of possessing explosives.

Ahmed Mohamud and Said     Mausud had been found with 15 kilogrammes of RDX explosives.

International media quoted an Israeli minister who said the two Iranians had planned to attack Israeli, American, British or Saudi targets inside Kenya.

Westgate Shopping Mall is one of several Israeli-owned businesses in Kenya.

The issue was was discussed at a special National Security Advisory Committee meeting (NSAC) held in Nairobi on Sunday.

The NSAC, which was chaired by Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, advises various security agencies on the way forward on security matters. The committee met following the terror attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall, which has killed more than 60 people and left hundreds of others wounded.

After they received the threats, the officers are said to have shared them with major shopping malls, tall commercial buildings and other installations that are usually at risk of mass attacks.

Sources said securities manning these installations are usually asked to beef up their security as a way of containing or deterring planned attacks.

Westgate Shopping Mall was among the installations that were informed of the plans and urged to beef up their security.

But the gunmen seem to have decided to arrive and strike on foot. Instead of gaining access in vehicles, they struck while walking in.

Westgate is a premier complex usually frequented by wealthy locals and expatriates and is usually busiest during weekends.It is one of the many malls that have come up in Nairobi and the country. The six-year-old shopping centre is located on Mwanzi Road in Westlands, near Sarit Centre, and UKay Centre.

2011

October 17 -- A Kenyan navy patrol boat is hit by a suspected rocket-propelled grenade off the coast of Lamu, injuring three navy officers.

October 23 -- A grenade is hurled at Mwaura pub on Mfangano Street in Nairobi, wounding 14 people.

October 24 A grenade attack hits a bus terminal (OTC) in Nairobi, killing one person and injuring 18.

October 27-- Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack a vehicle transporting exam materials in Lafey District in Mandera, killing four people, including two education officials and a Kenya police reservist.

October 28 -- A vehicle in a convoy carrying members of Kenya’s paramilitary General Service Unit heading to Liboi hits a roadside landmine seven kilometres from Garissa town, injuring three people.

November 5 -- Two grenades are hurled at the East African Pentecostal Church in Garissa town killing two including an 8-year-old girl. Five others are injured.

November 6 -- Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack a border post in Damasa village in Lafey District in Mandera, killing a police reservist.

November 7 -- Gunmen attack a vehicle carrying Kenyan Certificate of Primary Examination papers in Damajale near Liboi, which is on the Kenyan-Somali border. No one was injured.

November 9 Al-Shabaab militants attack a rural Border Patrol Unit of Administration Police near Elwaq in Mandera District. No casualties reported.

November 15 A remote-controlled improvised explosive device is detonated in Dadaab Refugee Camp, injuring two private security officers in a police escort vehicle driving workers to their residences.

November 23 -- Al-Shabaab militants ambush a military convoy on Abdi Sugow Road, less than 10km from Liboi, injuring one soldier.

November 24 -- Twin grenades target a Holiday Inn hotel and a shop in Garissa, killing three people and injuring at least 27 others. A roadside bomb in Bulla-Garaay, near Mandera town, kills a Kenyan soldier and wounds four others on patrol.

November 26 -- Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack Arabia, a trading centre near Mandera, and hit the local police station taking arms and ammunition and destroying communication equipment.

December 5 -- A land mine targeting a United Nations convoy explodes at Ifo Refugee Camp in Dadaab Complex, killing a police officer and injuring three others.

December 11 -- A remote-controlled explosive device explodes near Mandera Border Point Three, killing one police officer and injuring three. Another land mine in Wajir town targeting a military convoy explodes injuring nine soldiers.

December 12 -- A land mine targeting government vehicles leaving Jamhuri Day celebrations explodes, injuring the Wajir District Intelligence chief, his driver and four women of the local peace committee.

December 15 -- Twin grenade attacks at Florida Hotel in Garissa town and the local prison officers’ mess hall injure four people.

December 19 -- A land mine attack on a patrol vehicle in Dadaab complex kills a police officer and injures two other people.

December 20 -- A bomb explodes in Dadaab Refugee Camp targeting a senior police officer. No one was injured.

December 25 -- Two grenades are hurled at a government-owned club in Wajir town injuring seven people, including an army officer and a policeman.

December 29 -- A refugee leader, the chairperson of the Community Peace and Security Team in Hagadera camp, is killed by gunmen.

2012

January 1 -- Gunmen kill a refugee community leader, a member of the Lutheran World Federation Peace Committee, in Dadaab refugee complex.

January 3 -- A land mine in Mandera targeting Kenyan army vehicles injures three soldiers.

January 5 -- Kenyan police seize explosive equipment in Ifo camp in Dadaab Refugee Complex and arrests nine suspects.

January 11 -- Armed al-Shabaab militants kill six people including three police officers in Gerille camp, Wajir District. The militants also kidnapped two government officials.

February 19 -- Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for an attack on a police station in Hulugho, Garissa, which killed a policeman and a civilian and injured two other civilians.

February 22 -- Scores are injured in Mandera after a military vehicle hits a landmine.

March 10 -- Six people are killed and more than 60 injured when four hand grenades are hurled at Machakos bus station in Nairobi.

March 31 -- At least one person is killed and 18 wounded in two attacks targeting a church gathering in Mtwapa and a restaurant in Mombasa.

April 29 -- A grenade attack at God’s House of Miracles International Church in Nairobi kills one person and injures at least 15 others.

May 14 -- Four soldiers are wounded when a land mine explodes beneath their vehicle in Mandera town.

May 15 -- A police officer is killed and three others seriously wounded when their vehicle drives over a land mine in Dadaab Refugee Complex. They were escorting aid workers near Dagahaley camp.

May 15 -- A security guard is killed and five people injured when a gunman opens fire at the Bella Vista restaurant in Mombasa. When guards at the restaurant prevented the gunman and two accomplices from entering, they hurled grenades into the restaurant and fled.

May 21 -- Four Kenyan soldiers are injured when their patrol vehicle hits a land mine in the north-eastern Mandera region.

May 26 -- Five people are wounded when a grenade is hurled at a construction site at a school in the Ifo II section of the Dadaab Refugee Complex. At around the same time, attackers in Wajir throw a grenade into a restaurant, wounding three.

May 28 -- An explosive device rips through shops located inside Sasa Boutique in Assanand’s House along Moi Avenue, central Nairobi, injuring 38 people.

June 12 -- Police arrest a woman in Nairobi who had in her possession a hand grenade and three pistols.

June 24 -- Three people are killed and 30 wounded when a hand grenade is thrown into Jericho Beer Garden in Mombasa as football fans watch the Euro 2012 quarter-final match.

July 1 -- Masked gunmen hurl grenades and fire bullets as worshippers gather at the African Inland Church and the Catholic Central Cathedral in Garissa, killing 17 people and injuring more than 60 others.

July 5 -- Police arrest a man carrying two grenades at the Nakuru Agricultural Show shortly before President Mwai Kibaki arrived to deliver a speech.

July 18 -- Four people are injured when two grenades explode at a barbershop and a hotel in Wajir.

July 22 -- Police arrest two young men with four hand grenades in Kitale as they were boarding a Nairobi-bound bus. A third man escaped capture.

July 25 -- Three police officers are injured when their patrol vehicle hits a land mine in Dagahaley camp in Dadaab Refugee Complex.

August 3 -- Two separate attacks in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood kill four people. The bombs used in the attack are disguised as a transistor radio and a gas cylinder.

August 28-- Three Kenyan policeman are killed and over a dozen wounded in a grenade attack during riots in the port city of Mombasa over the killing of Islamist cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed.

September 15 -- Al-Shabaab is blamed for a roadside bomb attack that injures two Administration Police officers who were responding to an earlier explosions in Mandera.

September 21 -- Two police officers are injured when their lorry hits an improvised explosive device while on routine patrol near the Garissa Provincial General Hospital. A second explosion targeting responders injures four civilians gathered at the scene.

September 30 -- A suspected grenade attack kills one child and wounds nine others at the Anglican Saint Polycarp Church in Nairobi. In Garissa, two officers are shot from behind and killed while on patrol in the Ngamia Road area.

October 9 -- Kenyan police safely detonate a bomb weighing more than 10 kilograms that was found in an abandoned briefcase outside a restaurant in Garissa.

October 25 -- The bodies of Abdrashid Moallim Ahmed, 50, Hassan Aden Auul, 43, and Siat Mohamed Ismail, 48, are discovered with bullet wounds near Dadaab refugee complex. Police suspect that a gang that operates between Dadaab and Liboi is behind the incident.

October 28 -- Kenyan police shoot dead two suspected terrorists feared to be plotting attacks in the country’s coastal region.

October 30 -- Unknown gunmen kill one police officer and injure another while on patrol near First Community Bank Limited in Garissa.

November 6 -- At least two people are wounded when a bomb explodes in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood.

November 7 -- At least four people are killed and five injured in attacks by armed men in two villages in the Kenyan border town of Mandera.

November 11 -- At least 42 Kenyan police officers are killed and 21 wounded while pursuing cattle rustlers in northern Kenya.

November 14 -- An explosion in Nairobi’s predominately Somali Eastleigh neighbourhood injures at least one person.

November 16 -- Unidentified gunmen kill two police investigators in Garissa town while they were walking in Mugdi Market.

November 18 -- At least five people are killed and more than 10 injured in a minibus explosion in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood.

November 19 -- Gunmen kill three soldiers in Garissa.

December 3 -- A Kenyan police officer is injured when a petrol bomb detonates at Kiembeni police station in Mombasa.

December 5th -- A roadside bomb near a mosque in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood kills one person and wounds eight others includong Member of Parliament Abdi Yusuf Hassan.

December 7 -- A grenade was hurled into a crowd of worshippers leaving the popular Hidaya mosque in Eastleigh, killing five people.

December 14 -- A woman is injured when a bomb explodes near a voter registration centre in Dadaab refugee complex.

December 16 -- Two people are seriously injured when at least three grenades are lobbed towards a bar in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood near Hidaya mosque.

December 19 -- Two people are seriously injured after two blasts go off outside Al Amin mosque in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

December 20 -- Suspected Al Shabaab militants shoot three people dead and injure one on Kenyatta Street in Garissa.

December 27 -- A police officer is gunned down by a suspected Islamists in Mandera. His colleague escaped unharmed.

2013

On 4 January 2013, at 7 pm, two people were killed and seven wounded in a grenade attack at Dagahale area in Garissa. The grenade was hurled from a saloon car at a tent where people were chewing khat.

7 January 2013 --- In Garissa, a grenade is thrown into a police vehicle killing one and injuring 8 other people seriously.

9 January 2013--Two grenades were thrown into the World Food Programme (WFP) compound in Mandera Town.

16 January 2013--Suspected Islamic militants shoot dead 5 people and injure 3 others at a restaurant in the eastern city of Garissa. Attackers believed to be members of the Al-Shabaab group.

17 January 2013 -- An Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs) goes off in  Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab killing two men of Somali origin believed to be suicide bombers.

31 January 2013--An explosion injures three Kenyan policemen during the evening in the Dagahalley area of the northern town of Dadaab.

2 February 2013-- A grenade is hurled at a KDF soldier in Wajir, killing him and injuring two policemen and a woman.

5 February 2013--An administration police sergeant is shot in Garissa.

18 April 2013--Four armed men in a shooting spree kill six people and injure 10 at Kwa Chege Hotel in Garissa.

June 9 2013--A grenade is hurled into a crowd in Mpambe area near Eastleigh injuring four.

June 9--Six people are seriously injured when a grenade is hurled at a crusade in Likoni.

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Westgate Ahmed Mohamud National Security Advisory Committee meeting NSAC Kenya Al-Shabaab