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Court visits Westgate mall as terror case continues

NAIROBI
By By FRED MAKANA | January 21st 2014

By FRED MAKANA

Nairobi, Kenya: A Nairobi court Tuesday visited Westgate Shopping mall to survey the scene of the September 21 terror attack.

This followed a directive issued by acting Chief magistrate Daniel Ochenja, who is hearing a case against four men facing charges in relation to the attack.

The head of security at the mall Paul Mulandi  Mbunzi had given evidence on the second day of the trial which triggered State Counsel Mungai Warui to request a visit to the mall.

During the visit, Mr Mbunzi led the court delegation to Ashleys salon where one of the witnesses told court he saw the attackers.

Among other areas the delegation visited to assess the scene was the generator room, the parking bay and a Safaricom shop where two police officers were caught by the attackers. Mbunzi also showed to the court all the gates and exits of the mall.

Those accused of carrying the terrorist attack on September 21 last year are: Adan Abdikadir, Mohammed Abdi, Liban Abdulla and Hussein Hassan.

They were present with their lawyers and an interpreter to aid them throughout the visit. Addressing the media after the visit, Ochenja said the ongoing trial will now progress without any hitches over the scene of crime. “It is now clear to the court how the mall looks like. The witnesses can now give their testimonies with the court fully aware of the scene of crime,” Ochenja said

State Counsel Mungai Warui made the request for the court to visit the scene in order to familiarise themselves with exactly what occurred during the attacks and view the overall damage.

The magistrate said in case of anything, the defence or prosecution has a right to recall a witness to testify.

The delegation visited all the places that have been mentioned during the proceedings. They also visited part of the mall that collapsed rendering the building unfit for occupation. The building which was attacked by terrorists has visible bullet holes and is still in a state of disrepair.

The visit attracted both local and foreign media.

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