Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Ole Lenku has said that in the ongoing security operation at the Westgate shopping mall, the Kenyan forces have control of all the floors of the building.
In a joint press briefing with Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Chief of Staff General Julius Karangi, Ole Lenku said that the number of hostages in the building has reduced.
“The number of hostages in the building is minimal if at all there are any left in the building,” Ole Lenku said. He added that the lists compiled from crisis centres of those missing has only very few persons unaccounted for.
The cabinet secretary also said that the number of those still receiving treatment resulting from the initial attack has reduced to below 50 down from the initial government figure of 175.
Ole Lenku also placed the number of fatalities at 62 a difference of seven from the number given by Kenya Red Cross services which has been conducting emergency services since Saturday.
Karangi also briefing the press added that the identities of the attackers are known and that the group of attackers is composed of multi-nationals.
Karangi said that a dark cloud of billowing smoke that could be seen from the general area of the shopping complex was a fire the terrorists had lit in the supermarket section of the building to try and divert the attention of the Kenyan forces as they attempted to escape.
“The ploy to burn mattresses was a tactic by the terrorists in a bid to try to escape,” Karangi said adding that the terrorists should surrender because, the Kenyan forces would not relent in the operation.
Karangi concluded that security has been heightened in all points of entry into the country. He said that the attackers at the mall were all men contrary to earlier reports that a lady wanted by the American and British governments dubbed the “White Widow”, was leading the operation. The siege of the shopping mall is now in its third day.