Kenya Grieves One Year After Westgate Attack
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 — many of them survivors or bereaved families — 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.”