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Kenyan security officials released the names of four gunmen believed to be involved in the Nairobi Westgate mall siege last month, but this hasn’t quelled national criticism of Kenya’s handling of the terrorist attack.
Identified as Abu Baara al-Sudani, Omar Nabhan, Khattab al-Kene and Umayr, authorities have verified that all four were killed in the mall attack. The attackers were members of the Somalian militant group, Shabab, and were reacting to Kenya’s recent military intervention in Somalia.
In the aftermath of the mall siege, many blame police recklessness for allowing a terrorist attack of such scale to occur. Reuters reports that Kenyan intelligence agencies consistently fail to communicate effectively with one another, treating each other as competitors instead of collaborators. Adding insult to injury, corruption is also rampant among Kenyan police.
An unnamed expert on east Africa was quoted, “It takes just one corrupt official for there to be a major intelligence or security breach, for someone to cross a border, for shillings to be slipped into a hand, and someone makes it through.”
Citizens are equally outraged by witness accounts of Kenyan Army men taking from shops in the midst of a terrorist attack. Rumours that members of the Kenyan Army actually drew out the mall siege for the sole purpose of looting the shops are circulating among shop-owners.
Zahir Manji, a shop-owner inside the mall, told The New York Times , “This was not terrorism; this was looting [...] It’s sad that the people who were supposed to protect us have robbed us.”