Army chief names two soldiers found with mobile phones and cameras apparently stolen during deadly Westgate siege.
After previously saying Kenyan soldiers only took water from Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre during a deadly siege, the head of the army now says his men looted a variety of items.
General Julius Karangi identified the looters as Victor Otieno and Victor Ashiundu.
He said the two soldiers were found with mobile phones, cameras and chargers that were stolen from the shopping centre during the siege, which left 67 people dead.
“Discipline is our core driving point and we are not playing with this issue,” he said. “That is why we have taken action on these soldiers. Two of them have been jailed and dismissed while a third one is under probe.”
The attack was the largest in Kenya since the 1998 bombings by al-Qaeda of the US embassy in Nairobi, the capital.
The Somali group al-Shabaab claimed responsibly for the attack, saying it was in retribution for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia, which began in October 2011.
Security camera video
Two weeks ago, a security camera video seen by the Associated Press news agency showed men in fatigues walking out of the Westgate holding plastic bags filled with unknown items.
Others looked behind counters as they moved into the shopping centre.
Kenya’s security forces denied any wrongdoing and politicians who investigated the soldiers said they had stolen nothing.
Many questions, including what caused a part of the mall to collapse, remain unanswered more than a month after the attack. Kenyan officials have urged patience, saying they need more time to investigate the scene.
Local and foreign investigators have since been digging through the rubble for evidence, and at least four bodies believed to be those of the attackers have been retrieved.
Suspects in custody
Ndegwa Muhoro, Kenya’s director of criminal investigations, said on Tuesday that five suspects were in custody and that two other suspects believed to have played a role in the attack were still at large.
He identified the wanted suspects as Kenyan national Abdikadir Haret Mohamed, who also is known as
Mohamed Hussein, as well as a Somali national named Adan Dheq.
Dheq also is known as Hussein Abdi Ali or Abdulahi Dugon Subow.
The two suspects owned the Mitsubishu salon car registration that police seized outside the shopping centre, nearly a week after the attack.
Police found explosives and weapons inside the car, he said.