Nairobi Mall Terrorists May Have Escaped

NYPD investigation into attack shows glaring inconsistencies with official version of events

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Kabir Dhanji / EPA

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

A New York Police Department (NYPD) investigation into the deadly September attack at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall has debunked several of the Kenyan authorities’ claims, including that the attackers were killed.

Instead of 15 assailants, the report asserts that there could have been as few as four gunmen, Agence France Press reports. Rather than taking hostages, these al-Shabaab fighters were apparently killing as many non-Muslims as they could find.

Kenyan police and soldiers didn’t arrive at the scene until 90 minutes into the assault, and once they did, they allegedly fired on plain-clothed security personnel, killing a police officer and wounding the tactical response team’s commander.

Authorities have claimed that the terrorists were killed in the ensuing gun battle, but NYPD says that there is no evidence that they remained inside the mall beyond the first 12 hours, and may possibly have escaped.

Nevertheless, the standoff apparently continued for three days, during which time Kenyan forces started a fire, demolished part of the building and carried out wholesale looting of the shopping complex.