KENYA’S counter-terrorism police unit has released closed-circuit television footage that shows two men entering a local bank where they collected money and paid for a car used to bring terrorists to Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, indicating the deadly attack was planned weeks in advance, officials say.
Boniface Mwaniki, the head of Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, said the men had gone to Barclays Bank on September 6 and retrieved enough money to pay for the 340,000 shilling (about $A4253) car.
The Mitsubishi Lancer was found blocking the main entrance of the mall with two grenade pins inside, indicating the grenades had been thrown from inside the vehicle, Mwaniki said on Sunday.
Several survivors of the attack, who were near the entrance of Westgate, said that the terrorists first lobbed grenades into the interior of the mall, a blast which caused the glass facade of a jewellery shop to shatter, stunning the unarmed guards, who abandoned their posts.
“If you know how a grenade works, you’d know that you remove the pin, and then you throw it (the grenade). The pin gets dropped wherever you are,” Mwaniki said, to explain how police used the location of the pin to identity the vehicle as the attackers’ car.
Long after shoppers returned to the mall to retrieve their abandoned cars, the grey-coloured Mitsubishi remained unclaimed in front of the shopping centre, he said.
The footage played for reporters on Sunday showed two men entering the Queensway branch of Barclays in Nairobi. One of the men is described as light-skinned, around 5-feet-8-inches tall and believed to be Kenyan of Somali origin, from Mandera, a town near the Kenya-Somali border, according to a statement. Police identified him as Abd Kadir Haret Muhamed, also known as Muhamed Hussen. They said that he spoke Swahili fluently, as well as Sheng.
The suspect is married to a Kenyan woman, Shurekha Hussen, who was recently arrested by police and helped investigators identify the second suspect, Mwaniki said.
The second man captured on camera is believed to be Somali, identified as Adan Dheq, also known as Hussen Abdi Ali and Abdulahi Dugon Subow, police said. He is 5-feet-5-inches tall, and speaks “broken” Swahili, according to the statement.
Mwaniki cautioned that the two suspects identified on Sunday may not have been inside the mall during the attack.
“We don’t yet know. But it appears that these were the guys doing the logistics,” he said.
- Kenyan police detail car used in mall attack (sfgate.com)
- Kenya mall attack ‘planned weeks ahead’ (skynews.com.au)