Kenya Mall Vendors Suspect Looting

Shops plundered during terrorist attack

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Noor Khamis / Reuters

Kenya Defence Forces soldiers take their position at the Westgate shopping centre, on the fourth day since militants stormed into the mall, in Nairobi, Sept. 24, 2013.

Shopkeepers in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall returned to their stores Monday after the bloody four-day militant siege to find their inventories plundered and display cases smashed, but they’re not blaming the gunmen who killed dozens before finally being subdued. Instead, many vendors think it was the Kenyan Security Forces who looted their stores, the Associated Press reports.


Kenyan Security Forces cordoned off the mall as soon as the attack began on Sept. 21, and only security officials and government personnel were allowed in and out of the mall. Since the attack, alcohol has disappeared from restaurants, jewelry cases have been smashed, and cash registers were emptied.

This isn’t the first time poorly-paid Kenyan Security Forces have been accused of stealing from property they’re supposed to protect. There were also reports of looting during the major fire at Nairobi’s main airport in August.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku confirmed the thefts in a news conference on Sunday. “Those responsible for looting will be prosecuted,” Lenku said. But storekeepers will have to report their losses to the Kenyan Security Forces.