In Summary
  • Westgate Mall is one of the most secured shopping centres in the city, with guards screening visitors and their vehicles round the clock.
  • The head of the diplomatic police unit told journalists that a considerable number of diplomatic staff were among those held hostage in the building, including the First Secretary at the Kuwait Embassy.

Elite units of the military were Saturday called in to deal with the hostage crisis at the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

Security was tightened around the city after masked gunmen raided the shopping centre in the city’s Westlands area.

Elite teams from the military and the police, as well those from foreign missions in Nairobi, were jointly trying to resolve the crisis that took the city by storm.

Westgate Mall is one of the most secured shopping centres in the city, with guards screening visitors and their vehicles round the clock.

But the gunmen detonated grenades before making their way into the mall in a killing spree that claimed dozens of lives.

Combined police units led by the anti-terror police and the Recce squad teamed up with the military for the tense rescue operation.

The Recce team is composed of the finest General Service Unit officers.

The first batch of the Recce squad arrived at 2.17 pm and patrolled the mall before being joined by the second, which stormed the besieged premises.

Police said more than 600 people were evacuated and 150 were injured, some by shrapnel from the blasts.

Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo arrived at the scene at 1.50 pm as the police chopper started air surveillance.

Witnesses said that the men who raided the shopping centre at 11 am were armed with AK-47 rifles and hand grenades.

Page 1 of 2