It was justice at last for victims of the 2013 Nairobi Westgate Mall terror attack after the man behind the planning of the heinous act was jailed for 51-years.
Chief magistrate Francis Andayi sentenced 31-year-old Mohammed Ahmed Abdi to the lengthy sentence for coordinating the attack from his hideout in Eastleigh, Nairobi that left 67 people dead, at least 200 injured and properties worth billions of shillings destroyed.
“Their action was meant to instill fear, cause maximum pain to the victims and coerce the State to submit to the whims of the terrorists. Their participation may have been minimal, but the end result was devastating,” ruled Andayi.
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According to the magistrate, the sentences were commensurate with the suffering the victims have gone through since the attack on Westgate Mall on September 21, 2013.
The court relied on an impact assessment report by nine victims of the attack who told the pain and sufferings they have got through to pass the penalty.
The victims’ report was a case of husbands and wives widowed, children orphaned, permanent gunshot injuries, properties worth billions lost and painful memories that have refused to go away.
Continue to suffer
“What the victims wanted was maximum justice. They have expressed the pain and trauma they continue to suffer because of the action of the two accused who aided and abetted the terrorism act,” said State lawyer Edwin Okello. A husband whose wife died at his arms after being shot multiple times by the terrorists said he regrets why he took her to the mall.
“No one understands a survivor’s pain more than I do. The gunshots, shouting, taste of blood in my mouth and the glass on my face. I wanted to die too when I noticed she was not breathing,” he said.
Andayi found Abdi guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit a terrorism act, giving support to the outlawed Al-Shaabab terrorism group and being in possession of materials used to support terrorism acts.
For the first two counts of conspiracy and giving support to terrorists, Abdi was handed 18-years in jail each to run concurrently while he was jailed for another 15 years for being in possession of the terrorism materials.
Mustafa on the other hand was given 18 years for conspiracy to commit a terrorism act and another 18 years for supporting Al-Shaabab group with the sentences set to run concurrently.
“I have taken consideration that they have already spent seven years in custody which will be deducted from the total years each is supposed to serve,” ruled Andayi.