Kenya is today marking seven years since the dreadful terror attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands.
Over 67 died
The terror attack, which saw 67 (71 on some accounts) innocent people die, was at the time, the worst terror attack the country had suffered.
Unfortunately, the Garissa University attack would top that. Kenya lose over 140 people on 2nd April 2015 in the University attack. Many of them were students.
In a brief statement, the Westgate Shopping Mall sent out a letter of gratitude to all that stood by them during their worst moment.
“For there is nothing heavier that compassion. We thank you for standing with us in our moment of despair and for staying with us in our moment of grief, as we remember our departed family. Thank you.” Westgate said through their Twitter account.
The attack happened on 21st September, 2013, when four masked gunmen raided the mall through co-ordinated movements.
Attack at noon
They raided the mall at about noon and began randomly shooting at anybody they saw, before then engaging the police in a stand-off that presumably lasted 48 hours.
Dreaded militant group, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. They said that it was in response to the Operation Linda Nchi that Kenya launched into Somalia in 2011.
Accounts on what happened in the final days remain conflicted. While official documents state that all four militants died, questions remain on what happened in those final moments.
In fact, on some accounts, the attack ended on the very evening of the attack and not after three days as media reported. Indeed, information came out, along with CCTV footage, showing Kenyan soldiers in the mall, some of whom allegedly engaged in looting.
Probes into the matter have never been made public, with Kenyans largely moving on from the matter.
Al-Shabaab have been launching insurgencies to Kenya over the past ten years. They have left a trail of destruction in their wake, mostly in the NFD and Lamu.