Kenyans mourn, angry over looting | Africa | DW | 21.10.2013
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Kenyans mourn, angry over looting

In Kenya, mourners have been attending a ceremony for almost 70 people killed exactly a month ago in a raid on a Nairobi shopping mall. Pictures of soldiers looting the mall have infuriated many Kenyans.

They grabbed handfuls of dirt and planted saplings at a memorial ceremony in Nairobi's urban Karura Forest on Monday. They offered prayers to Jesus and Allah and removed their shoes for a Sikh prayer. A school band played and a choir sang in Kiswahili.

No major political or religious leaders were invited. But the wider world still intruded on the personal grief of the crowd of around 400 mourners. Many found it hard to dispel thoughts of the closed circuit television footage showing soldiers from the Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) with full shopping bags in the hands. "They were supposed to come in and save us, not to come and loot. Why go in without anything and come out with bags," asked Charles Njenga, while planting a tree for his 22-year-old son who was slain in the attack.

Vaishal Shah, whose friend was killed at the mall during a cooking competition for kids, said "the whole KDF thing is messing people up. When families hear this looting is going on even as family members are dying, it is hard to come together when that is happening."

DW's Nairobi correspondent, James Shimanyula said the astonishing thing was that the closed circuit footage showed that the soldiers were "all carrying those plastic bags and leaving the place as if they had all gone to shop at the same time." He added that Kenyans reading newspapers, listening to the radio, people talking in public places, "are very angry."

A man only identified by his first name, Stephen (C) is comforted by Pastor Elizabeth Akinyi (R) and family members at the city mortuary in Nairobi on September 23, 2013. Stephen's father was killed in the Westgate mall siege on September 21, 2013. Kenyan Defence troops remain inside the mall, in a standoff with Somali militants after they laid siege to the shopping centre shooting and throwing grenades as they entered. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenyans feel the looting has made it harder to mourn lost ones

One Nairobi-based doctor, who did not want to be identified, said the footage had made him lose faith in the KDF whom he and other people had strongly supported after they had crushed al Shabab in Somalia. "Now there is some sort of cover-up taking place," he said.

Meanwhile the Kenyan government has said it believes it has recovered the remains of the four gunmen who stormed the Westgate mall on September 21. Joseph Ole Lenku, cabinet secretary for the interior, said they had recovered a "fourth body," which they "knew from closed circuit television footage to be that of a terrorist."

Lenku also said that officials believed that the remains of three people recovered at the mall last week were also "those of the terror suspects." He said DNA and other investigations would confirm their identities. One gunmen has already been named. He is Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a Somali-Norwegian.

Four AK-47 assault rifles believed to have been used by the attackers were also recovered.

Many questions, including what caused a part of the mall to collapse, remain unanswered a month after the attack.

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