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Kenya Grieves One Year After Westgate Attack

AFP   in  ยท
September 24, 2014

Thousands of mourners gathered on Sunday for emotional commemorations marking a year since gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall and killed at least 67 people.

The country was high alert for the anniversary, which comes just weeks after Al-Shabaab’s reclusive leader and the alleged mastermind of the Westgate attack, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US air strike in southern Somalia.

In Nairobi’s Karura forest, close to 2,500 people โ€” many of them survivors or bereaved families โ€” were holding inter-faith prayers and a memorial procession. A plaque bearing the names of the victims was also unveiled.

“My life is completely shattered, it’s been very hard to cope,” said 62-year-old Amul Shah, whose son was among those cut down when a small group of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters walked into the upmarket mall, tossing grenades and raking shoppers and staff with machine gun fire.

Shah said his 38-year-old son was looking after children taking part in a cooking competition on the mall’s rooftop when the attackers struck. “He helped several children escape from the attack, but he was not lucky himself. He was so selfless.”

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