Kenya attack: Westgate mall bodies ‘probably gunmen’

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BBC

Two charred bodies pulled from Kenya’s Westgate shopping centre on Thursday are “highly likely” to be two of the attackers, an MP has told the BBC.

Ndung’u Gethenji, chairman of the committee investigating the attack, said AK47 rifles used by the militants were found next to the bodies.

The authorities will now conduct forensic tests on the bodies.

At least 67 people died when suspected al-Shabab militants stormed the Nairobi shopping centre on 21 September.

The attack sparked a four-day siege in which large parts of the shopping centre were destroyed.

The Kenyan authorities have released the names, or nicknames, of four suspects in the attack, but have given few other details.

Mr Gethenji said the bodies recovered on Thursday were likely to be militants because the army does not use AK47s.

He said another body recovered from the rubble was likely to be a soldier.

It is still not clear whether some of the attackers might have escaped, or even how many attackers there were.

Officials initially said 10 to 15 gunmen were involved, but CCTV footage appears to show only four militants.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Nairobi says Kenyans still feel there are a lot of unanswered questions, and will be shocked if it turns out that just four gunmen caused such havoc.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab said its members carried out the attack in response to Kenya’s army carrying out operations on Somali territory.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia, where they have been fighting the militants since 2011.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme has revealed that one of the suspected attackers is a 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.

His family fled to Norway in the 1990s, but he returned to Somalia in 2009 and allegedly joined the Somali militant group.

Al-Shabab, which is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters, controls large parts of Somalia.

The group, which is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK, is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.