Friday, September 27, 2013

Jewellery missing

The summoning of the heads of the various security agencies to appear before the parliamentary defence committee on Monday comes amid rising concern among Kenyans over the authorities' preparedness for such an attack. "The time for responsibility and accountability has come," the defence committee's chairman Ndung'u Gethenji is quoted by Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper as saying. Local media have reported that National Intelligence Service boss Michael Gichangi, one of those asked to appear before the committee, passed on intelligence about a possible attack to the police. But the Daily Nation says that a highly placed police source denied that such information was received. New photos revealing some of the damage at the Westgate shopping centre have been released. They show how parts of the rooftop car park have collapsed down onto what is believed to be the supermarket area. The manager of a jewellery shop allowed back into Westgate showed the BBC photos she took, showing that the store had been looted. President Uhuru Kenyatta declared three days of official mourning this week. The funeral of his nephew and his nephew's fiancee took place in Nairobi on Friday. Amongst the funerals held on Thursday was that of Mitul Shah at the Hindu Crematorium. A marketing executive, his firm was reportedly sponsoring the children's cooking competition taking place in the car park. Irene Anyango, manager of a Westgate jewellery shop, is one of the few people allowed into the mall following the end of the siege. She said the mall was barely recognisable given the damage. "It was a nightmare… and the shop was a totally different place," she told the BBC. "So many things were not intact... a lot of things weren't there, a lot jewellery - we're talking about diamonds, necklaces - all the rings." Ms Anyango said 90% of the jewellery was missing from the shop, which is now flooded. "As far as we know for the last couple of days they were intact - we don't understand what's happening but they're not there," she said. Many people not only face the trauma of losing family and colleagues but also the possibility of losing their jobs, she added. On Thursday the funeral of pregnant television and radio star Ruhila Adatia-Sood was one of many funerals held. Some 2,500 people packed into the Muslim Ismaili community's sports and social club in Nairobi to pay their respects to her and another woman killed in the siege, the AFP news agency reports. They had been taking part in a children's cooking competition on the rooftop car park, when gunmen stormed the shopping centre. "We are a small community. In a tragedy like this we get together," Azym Dossa, who lent his fleet of coaches to ferry mourners across town, told AFP. Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia. About 4,000 Kenyan troops have been sent to Somalia to help pro-government forces battle al-Shabab. The group is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters. Its members are fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

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