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Revealed: Militants 'Hired Kenyan Mall Shop'   
 
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27-Sep-2013  
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The militants who led the attack on a Kenyan mall hired a shop there in the weeks leading up to the siege, senior security sources have told the BBC.

This gave them access to service lifts at Westgate enabling them to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

Having pre-positioned weapons they were able to re-arm quickly and repel the security forces.

Sixty-seven people are known to have died in the four-day siege. Kenya's Red Cross says 61 others are still missing.

Forensic experts are still combing the complex, looking for bodies and clues.

The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, says it was behind the attack and the following siege at the upmarket mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Kenya is in its third day of official mourning for both the civilian and military victims of the attack.

Fake IDs?

The BBC investigation has revealed how the Westgate gunmen were able to plan and carry out the siege, and how security breaches allegedly fuelled by corruption made it an attack waiting to happen.

To rent a shop, the militants would have needed fake IDs supplied by corrupt government officials.

The BBC has also confirmed more details about how they executed their attack.

Two vehicles dropped the Islamist extremists off outside before they forced their way into the mall, sources say.

They are also believed to have set up a base using a ventilation shaft as a hiding place, on the first floor.

Security sources have also confirmed a change of tack by the militants late on Saturday.

They rolled out heavy calibre machine guns, exploiting the moment when control of the security operation switched from the police to the military.

There are reports that this switchover was fraught with confusion.

The heads of the various security agencies have been summoned to appear before the parliamentary defence committee on Monday, amid rising concern over the authorities' preparedness for such an attack.

The committee's chairman, Ndung'u Gethenji, told the BBC that "people need to know the exact lapses in the security system that possibly allowed this event to take place".

He also said they needed to understand "the anatomy of the entire rescue operation" amid the allegations of confusion over who was in charge.

It is still not clear how many militants took place in the attack or their nationalities.

But senior sources within al-Shabab, which has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia, told the BBC by phone that they would not release the attackers' names.
 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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