Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Sunday a nephew and his fiancee were among the 59 people confirmed killed in an ongoing siege in an upmarket shopping mall by Somali militants.
“I feel the pain of every life we have lost, and share your grief at our nation’s loss,” Kenyatta said, calling his killed relatives “young, lovely people I personally knew and loved.”
Somalia’s Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels have said the carnage at the shopping complex was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia, where African Union troops are battling the Islamists.
“They shall not get away with their despicable and beastly acts,” Kenyatta said in an emotional speech to the nation.
“We will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully.”
More than 1,000 people have been rescued from the mall, but between 10 to 15 attackers — reportedly including both men and women — remain in the building “as well as many unarmed, badly shaken, innocent civilians”, Kenyatta added.
Three Britons and two Canadians were also killed in the attack. Ghanaian poet and former UN envoy Kofi Awoonor, 78, is among 59 people killed in the attack.
Other nationals killed by the Shebab terrorists are French, Chinese, Indian, South Koreans.
At the moment, the death toll has increased to 59, 20 more than 39 reported yesterday.
United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon said Sunday the Nairobi mall attack was a “totally reprehensible” act and that he has spoken with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In comments to reporters, Ban condemned the attack and hostage-taking, claimed by Somali militant group Shebab, “in the strongest terms.”
“This premeditated act, targeting defenseless civilians, is totally reprehensible. The perpetrators must be brought to justice as soon as possible,” he said, adding that he had spoken by phone with the Kenyan leader.
“This is a time of shock for all Kenyans and all — including the UN family — who are proud to call Nairobi home,” Ban said.