Gunfire, Explosion Point to Continuing Strife at Kenya Mall

Authorities had said the building was under their control, but the violence continues for a fourth day

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Kabir Dhanji / EPA

People take cover behind a counter at the Westgate shopping mall after a shootout in Nairobi, on Sept. 21, 2013.

Kenyan authorities were still struggling Tuesday to end a violent showdown at an upscale Nairobi mall besieged by militants since Saturday, with sounds of gunfire ringing out from the Westgate mall and reports that live hostages were still being held captive in the building.

The news cut against earlier statements by Kenyan officials that the mall was under their control, underscoring the government’s now four-day-old struggle to resolve a bloody incident that has left at least 62 dead. Gunfire and an explosion were heard Tuesday morning as authorities said they were moving in for a final push to rescue hostages, the AP and Reuters report.

An intelligence officer confirmed to Reuters that there were still gunmen in the building. Al-Shabaab’s Twitter feed, which has since been removed, claimed “There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the Mujahideen [fighters] are still holding their ground #Westgate.”

Officials expect the death toll will rise one the mall is finally cleared.