Death Toll In Kenyan Hostage Crises at 72, As Nation Enters Period of Mourning
The four-day hostage crises at an upscale mall in Kenya is finally over, and in its wake, has left 72 people dead and the nation in a three-day-period of mourning. The most recent tally of the dead includes six security guards and five militants killed in the hostage crisis. Once Kenyan forces took control of the shopping mall, 11 people were arrested in connection with the attack. The death toll is expected to rise as the mall is cleared. Three floors of the structure collapsed during a fire, and officials suspect that several bodies, including those of militants, will be found beneath the rubble. Meanwhile, the group claiming responsibility for the attack, al Qaeda linked al-Shabab, is saying that 137 hostages were killed during their siege on the mall. The group's claims have not been verified.
The mall is currently sealed off, as forensic tests are conducted and bodies are searched for.
After Kenyan forces took control of the mall on Tuesday the country's president claimed victory saying, "We have ashamed and defeated our attackers...Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed."
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the he could not yet confirm reports that some of the militants involved in the attack were either British or American. Some accounts of the siege identified a white British woman, believed to be the wife of a suicide bomber responsible for the July 7 attacks in London, as one of the assailants.
Kenyatta said that forensic tests were underway to determine the nationalities of those involved in the hostage crises. But the partial collapse of the mall will likely make the work of forensic experts more difficult.
Regardless of their nationalities, Kenyatta said, "These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are."
At least 18 foreigners are included among the dead, including citizens of Britain, France, Peru, Ghana and the United States.