Hard questions Kenyans want answered after Westgate terror attack

By Digital Reporter

Nairobi, Kenya: Kenyans have asked prodding questions directed at government authorities and demanded for answers which the State has avoided answering since the Saturday massacre.

Without a detailed blow by blow account of what transpired at the upscale shopping mall, questions were fired from the citizens as well as a section of members of the National Assembly even as State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu ducked some questions from the media.

From questions about the effectiveness of the National Intelligence Service, to how the sophisticated, well planned and executed massacre happened and why it was not prevented dominated discussions online and on FM radio stations.

Members of the public spoke as the media awaited government briefing on the progress of investigations from the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku later Wednesday afternoon.

Their questions exposed how the Jubilee Government communicated incoherently at times contradicting each other.

Kenyans are also demanding to be furnished with the official death toll of the massacre especially the number of people buried in the mall after it was taken over by security forces. Some are demanding to be shown bodies and pictures of the terrorists arrested and those killed.

Below are some of the Tough questions:

1. How many people are still unaccounted for?

2. How many terrorists were involved in the attack? Are they all accounted for?

 3. Amb Amina Mohammed said there was at least one female terrorist whom she identified as a Briton. Interior Cabinet Secretary Ole Lenku in a press briefing said they were all men. Could you clarify? Was Samantha Lewthwaite one of the attackers?

4. What of the reports the at least one terrorist escaped from Westgate? Again, Amb Amina Mohammed in her Al Jazeera English interview suggested some might have hidden among hostages and escaped. Who were the people arrested in JKIA? Were any of them in Westgate? Will any arrested terrorists be put on trial here or handed over to other states?

5. Are there any terrorists on the loose in the city who are yet to be captured?

6. Will there be an inquiry into the attack to identify potential improvements to intelligence and security? What powers of investigative authority will the group tasked with the inquiry be given?

7. Was fire on terrace started by terrorists to burn hostages and swap identities? How many escaped?

8. Will the findings be made public after the investigations?

9. What of the cars that dropped the attackers at Westgate? Are the cars still there? If not, are they being pursued? (I don’t want to delete someone elses question, I simply ask that you kindly consider this -> https://twitter.com/PoliceKE/status/382505737421070337 ) - @mwirigi

10. Who owns the Westgate Mall building? Have they been taken in for questioning?

11. There are reports of the attackers renting a store at the mall. Are these reports true and is the landlord being pursued for information on the same? Have they arrested the staff for questioning?

 12.Ten suspects have been arrested for questioning. Are they part of the attackers? Are we still safe?

13. What is the security forces’ explanation to the story of the escaped hostage who says one of the gunmen blended with them and walked out as a hostage?

14. When did the terrorists get into the country? How? Where? How soon will you be able to determine this?

15. If the delay in using brute force to overcome the gunmen by Sunday morning was because there were hostages whose lives the authorities wanted to save, how many hostages were saved since Sunday Morning?

16. If it really was just about the attack, why keep hostages alive for three days...why not just kill everyone and blow the building up?

17. Do the police have access to architectural plans of Westgate and the air vents checked to ensure no terrorist is hiding?

18. Was there anyway to assess those rescued like a debrief room where details were recorded ( i.e. biographical data, contacts etc)?. How do we know who was there?

19. In the last government, there were many rumours that Kenyan Passports and Id’s were being sold for Sh300,000 . Is it possible to inspect and record how many of them were undeserving and recall them and/or deport or arrest those who own them? Also, Is it possible to use this evidence to jail those responsible for selling our country?

20. Was the CCTV footage made available to the police?

21. Why was the IG Kimaiyo asking for pictures to be sent to him on Twitter?

22. How many hostage takers have been killed?

 23. When will a report by NSIS be made public with an analysis of the security situation prior and after the attack? Were we caught by surprise? If so,why? Did we know or at least suspect something like this? If so, what did we do to try averting the same? And most important, what’s the security position now?

25. In times of disasters and any such tragedies, why can't we have a clear command structure to ensure that orders and coordination comes from one person and thereby eliminate the possibility of terrorist gelling with victims and escaping so easily?

26. Why was there conflicting information from different government sources?  

28. What is the role of Rachel Omamo in the security military operation?

29.Were Kenyan Forces in control of CCTV control room by 11am Tuesday morning?

30.  Can we see the bodies of the “neutralized” terrorists?

31. What do we stand to gain by KDF being in Somalia?  

33. Is it true that Samantha Lewthwaite aka White Widow  bribed to avoid a jail term ? Who did she bribe? Where is she? What does she know?

34. Samantha Lewthwaite has been to Kenya twice (In 2011 and 2012). How did she stroll through our airports undetected? She’s been on FBI’s and Interpol’s watch list since 20.

35. Why won't they tell us how many hostages were rescued or where they were taken to? Why is there so much secrecy?

36. Did the Kenyan military have access to the basement parking by Tuesday 11am? 

38. Every crime has a fixer. How is it possible that someone can procure such a huge cache of arms and ship it without our NSIS knowing? If the arms were imported, what are we doing to secure our borders?

39.          Somalia. Let’s talk about Kenya’s invasion of Somalia. Are we finally paying for this? And if so, how can we be sure that victory is ours when victory for now just means reclaiming Westgate? What about the future?

40. Why is Kenya a terrorist target for the ninth time? What have we done? More importantly, why is the Government not able to protect its citizens? For how long will we react instead of preventing?

41. Ole Lenku said fire that started on Monday was caused by mattresses being torched by terrorists. Some time before, he had claimed that the terrorists had been “contained” in a section in one of the “upper floors”. If this is true, how did the terrorists gain entry into Nakumatt on the second floor? Better yet, isn’t Nakumatt on the ground floor in Westgate mall? 

44. Why didn’t the government jam telephone network and ask service providers to block signals to Nairobi area once the magnitude was clear on day 2?

45. The public have a right to know how many citizens were killed. Fudging information won’t help. Also, information on terrorists caught, killed, and those who escaped. Will we be told the truth? 

51.  Are there underground tunnels eg sewage ducts at the mall that could act as passageways?

52. What do MPs and “national politicians” gain by insisting that the terrorists did not have a religious angle to their approach (even if misconceived)? Are politicians being genuine, naive or simply avoiding to explore the root cause?

53. Why would a 27-year-old soldier who has served for only 4 years be detailed to undertake an operation of that magnitude? 

55.  How safe are our borders?

56.  What caused the floors to collapse?

62.  How many children died?

65.  Why did it take more than 30 minutes for the security system to get activated and act from the time the first distress signal was sent?

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Westgate attack terrorism police National Intelligence Service