8 February 2014

Kenya: FBI Takes Bodies of Westgate Terrorists

THE bodies of the four gunmen who attacked Westgate in September have been handed over to the FBI, General Julius Karangi revealed yesterday.

Karangi revealed that the attackers were killed on Monday morning three days after they attckeded the mall on Saturday afternoon and killed 67 people.

Karangi was speaking at a Media Council breakfast at the Hilton Hotel to release their analysis of media coverage of the Westgate attack.

"One of the media houses was only too happy to report that these fellows escaped on Saturday through a tunnel. Hear it from me. Those fellows were killed on Monday morning... We finished them on Monday morning and their bodies are with the FBI somewhere," he said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations was one of the international security agencies that helped in the forensic investigation of the Westgate attack.

Kenyan police had previsouly reported that four unidentified bodies had been taken from the rubble of the collapsed shopping mall to the City Mortuary for DNA tests but the results have never been released to the public.

Karangi admitted that here was initial confusion because of the multiple security organisations in the Task Force but said no single government institution will handle such a crisis in future alone.

Karangi insisted that there were misinformation by the media during the Westgate attack but praised their coverage of the KDF incursion into Somalia.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Rachel Omamo accused the media of being unpatriotic during Westgate.

"The coverage of Westgate was like a soap opera. Imagine a situation where the media created a villain in the KDF. There is need to interrogate the government handling raw news but media should be patriotic and have a sense of national security," Omamo said.

"As a nation, what drives us? It was a first of its kind and we were learning," she said.

The Media Council of Kenya accused journalists of breaching the Media Code of Conduct by publishing graphic pictures of the dead and injured.

MCK said that live coverage of security forces entering the mall could have jeopardised rescue operations and compromised the safety of the civilians inside.

The Media Council report reveals that 70 percent of respondents felt that journalists did not ask hard questions and only focused on the bizarre and brutal aspects of the attack.

Nation Media Group Chief Executive Officer Linus Gitahi, who represented the Media Owners Association, defended the media saying they did their best.

"Overall, we are delighted with the coverage. We are delighted that we were as close as possible to the issues," he said.

"There were many things that were done well. I think there were mistakes that were done but those mistakes were done in the spirit of wanting to do good," Gitahi said.

The government revealed that in future there will be a single source of information during such crises and pledged to establish a Sh200-300 million media center to coordinate the flow of information.

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