Kenya Mall Attack: 59 Reported Dead

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According to NPR:

“A standoff that began with a shocking attack at Kenya’s Westgate Mall Saturday is in its second day, with civilians held hostage by gunmen in the upscale shopping center.

“The authorities say they have isolated the attackers. As of Sunday morning, Red Cross officials reported 59 deaths and at least 200 wounded in the assault, with 49 people still missing.

‘The priority is to save as many lives as possible,’ Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Lenku tells the AP. He said that about 1,000 people have been rescued since the standoff began.

“The assault started with grenades that were thrown around lunchtime, the peak foot-traffic time on a Saturday, officials say. Panic then ensued, as gunmen began firing indiscriminately. Reports indicate that groups of gunmen attacked different areas simultaneously, in a coordinated strike. The attack has been celebrated by al-Shabab, a militant group based in Somalia, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Lenku said the number of attackers is between 10 and 15. He did not estimate the number of hostages remaining in the mall. Kenyan officials say that on a normal weekend, about 10,000 people shop at the mall, which is popular among foreigners and the wealthy.”

According to the BBC, “1,000 people had managed to escape from the Westgate centre after the assault by suspected al-Shabab militants.”

Kenyan Deputy President Requests ICC Trial Adjournment

According to Reuters:

“Judges at the International Criminal Court will meet on Monday to decide if Kenya’s deputy president can return home to deal with the armed occupation at a Nairobi shopping mall in which 59 people have been killed, a person close to events said.

“In a filing seen by Reuters, William Ruto’s lawyers had asked judges to meet in emergency session on Sunday to adjourn the trial. If it had been granted, Ruto could have left The Hague for Nairobi on Sunday evening.

“Ruto and Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of crimes against humanity in relation to their role in coordinating a wave of violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country’s contested 2007 elections.

“In the filing, lawyers said Ruto was needed at home to help with security briefings and consultations. Kenyatta and Ruto are voluntarily complying with court summonses, but have previously asked to be excused from attending every session in view of the responsibilities attached to the high offices they both hold.”

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