Gunmen storm Nairobi mall

Colin Meagher, Staff Writer

Panic arose in Nairobi, Kenya as 10 to 15 gunmen, armed with assault rifles and grenades, stormed the Westgate Mall at around noon, Sept. 21.

Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack over Twitter. The Al-Qaeda linked group prepared long before the attack. Preparing for the attack, the terrorist group looked at blueprints of the mall and thoroughly planned out each step of the assault.

The gunmen started their assault outside of the building, where they shot at several civilians. Many civilians hid underneath cars or behind walls to avoid being seen by the terrorists.

The gunmen continued the attack as they went inside the mall and cut off the lights. Bullets from assault rifles and shrapnel from grenades flew throughout the mall as the terrorists continued their offensive.

Al-Shabaab had people inside the mall prior to the attack to hide belt fed machine guns throughout the mall. The gunman used these machine guns during the assault and were used to hold back the security officers.

Once the terrorists had full control of the mall, they started taking hostages. Muslim civilians were the only ones released by the gunmen, as Al-Shabaab is an Islamic terrorist group. On Twitter, the gunmen said that the Westgate Mall attack was in retaliation to the attacks that the African Union performed on Al-Shabaab. Five years ago, the United Nations approved for the African Union to send in 15,000 troops into Somalia.

The Kenyan Defense Forces came to stop the attack late Sunday, one day after the attack began. The hostage situation was slowly coming to an end as the Kenyan Defense Forces took back the mall, one floor at a time. The terrorists held the hostages on the third floor, which according to Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was finally taken back Tuesday, Sept. 24, by the Defense Forces.

A total of 67 civilians died in the attack, not only from Kenya, but from England, France, Canada and many other first world countries. No Americans have been reported dead, but 30 Americans were in the mall during the attack. Together, the security guards and Kenyan Defense Forces saved over 1,000 lives in the four day standoff. The Kenyan Red Cross says that 18 people are still missing.

This isn’t the only shooting that has happened recently. In America, six shootings and bombings have killed over 10 people in the past four years.

“Terrorism will get worse before it gets better,” Daniel Hrehor, an Athens Drive social studies teacher said. Hrehor predicts that terrorism will become more domestic than foreign, like the Boston Bombing that was conducted by two US citizens during the 2013 Boston Marathon this past spring.