Kenya's Mall Standoff Is Finally Over (We Think)

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 24 2013 1:09 PM

Kenya's Mall Standoff Is Finally Over (We Think)

181717334
Smoke rises on September 23, 2013 from the beseiged Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi following a loud explosion

Photo by James Quest/AFP/Getty Images

The major terrorist attack at an upscale Nairobi mall that left scores of civilians dead appeared finally to come to an end Tuesday, three days after the bloody siege began in the Kenyan capital. I say appeared only out of an abundance of caution given the string of conflicting reports that have recently come out of Kenya, where government officials had previously suggested on more than one occasion that they had the situation under control only for additional gunfire to break out shortly thereafter.

Still, the latest news appears credible, in no small part because it was delivered by President Uhuru Kenyatta during a prime-time address to the nation. "We have been badly hurt and feel great pain and loss, but we have been brave, united and strong," he said. "Kenya has stared down great evil and triumphed."

Advertisement

Kenyatta put the current death toll at 72, a figure he said included six security officers and five of the Islamic militants behind the attack. There's a chance that the casualty count—which stands at 240 when the wounded are factored in—could still grow, however. The Kenyan president said that three floors of the Westgate shopping center had collapsed during the "tail end" of the government's counter operation, leaving it possible that some of the wounded or dead have not yet been accounted for.

Kenyatta said that in addition to the five "terrorists" who were killed, eleven other suspected militants have also been arrested. He said that he could not confirm, however, reports that Americans and a British citizen were among the original group of attackers.

On Monday, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed suggested that the militant group inside the mall included "one Brit" and "two or three Americans," who she described as 18- or 19-year-olds who were of Somali or Arab origin but who lived "in Minnesota and one other place." The U.S. government, however, says that it has not yet been able to confirm that claim. A spokesman for Al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked group thought to be behind the attack, meanwhile, denied to Reuters that any Americans or Brits were involved in the operation.

This post has been updated with additional information as it became available.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.