Nairobi Westgate attack: four charged over mall massacre
First charges brought in relation to the four-day Kenyan shopping centre siege that left 67 dead
FOUR men have been charged over the siege at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, in which 67 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
The suspects – named as Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adnan Ibrahim and Hussein Hassan – have been charged with aiding terrorist groups and being in Kenya illegally.
However, they are not accused of being the gunmen in the shopping centre. "The accused persons carried out a terrorist attack at Westgate Shopping Mall on 21 September by supporting a terrorist group," reads the charge sheet. Other accusations range from providing support and shelter to the gunmen to using false documents.
The four men's nationalities have not been disclosed but they are said to be ethnic Somalis and not Kenyans. The charges are the first to be brought in relation to the massacre.
All four men, who had no lawyer, have pleaded not guilty to the charges, reports the BBC.
The court has ordered them to be remanded at a local police station after the prosecution asked for more time for further investigations.
The Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed it carried out the attack but the estimated number of attackers who took part in the siege has fluctuated, reports CNN. Kenyan officials initially claimed that five attackers had been shot dead and 11 had been arrested. However, the CCTV footage shows just four men.
The Kenyan army now claims that all four of the attackers died during the siege. One of the suspected attackers has been named as 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.
It is still unclear how many civilians and terrorists may still be buried beneath the concrete of a collapsed section of the mall. Kenyan authorities are also investigating allegations that some Kenyan soldiers looted stores in the mall as they searched for the attackers.
On 11 November, the court is expected to set a formal date for the start of the trial. ·