Norwegian link to Kenya gunmen as investigation continues | News | DW | 18.10.2013
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Norwegian link to Kenya gunmen as investigation continues

One of the gunmen who killed dozens of people in a Kenyan mall has been tentatively identified as a man of Norwegian-Somali descent. Bodies that could belong to the gunmen have been recovered from the rubble in Nairobi.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow was been named as a suspect in the shooting on Friday, with both Kenyan and Western officials confirming the 23-year-old was one man investigators were looking at. Dhuhulow was born in Somalia but moved to Norway with his family under refugee status, according to relatives who spoke with the BBC in the same report in which he was named .

At least 67 people were killed in the upmarket Westgate shopping center in Nairobi on September 21 when four gunmen opened fire and threw grenades at shoppers and staff. Kenyan government officials put the number of gunmen at between 10 and 15 at the time of the attack, but so far only four have been named.

The al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack, with corpses pulled out from under a part of the mall that collapsed set for DNA testing in a bid to identify the killers.

"All the indications are that they are the attackers," Ndung'u Gethenji, head of Kenya's defense and foreign relations committee, told Reuters news agency. "The area they were excavating is consistent with the area [the gunmen] were trapped in during the operation."

Norway probes gunman link

One of the bodies found in the rubble could be Dhuhulow's. Norway's intelligence agency PST declined to comment on the speculation, but said it had launched its own investigation after receiving information about the possible involvement of a Norwegian citizen and is cooperating with Kenyan officials.

"The name of a person claimed to be the Norwegian citizen under investigation by the PST was publicized by the UK press," it said in a statement. "At this point, we do not wish to confirm or deny this claim."

"It has not yet been determined whether a named Norwegian citizen actually took part in the attack or not. Based on the information that we have uncovered this far in the investigation, however, the suspicion of his involvement has been strengthened."

News agency AP cited reports of a man bearing the same name as Dhuhulow was released by a Mogadishu court in March after no proof was found of involvement in the murder of a Somali journalist.

No end to fears of further attacks

Al-Shabab threatened further action in the wake of the shooting and fears remain high the group will follow through on its words.

Ugandan police are standing guard at shopping malls after a message from the United States embassy saying it was continuing "to assess reports that a Westgate-style attack may soon occur in Kampala."

ph/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)