Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kenya mall attack: dozens more bodies believed buried under rubble

September 26, 2013.
Scores more bodies are believed to be buried under rubble in Kenya's Westgate shopping mall as gruesome details continued to emerge on Wednesday from the aftermath of the four-day terrorist siege.

As one morgue in Nairobi said it was preparing for up to 160 new corpses, an intelligence source told the Guardian there was evidence that the number of bodies buried under rubble could be in the hundreds, adding that at least one attacker was still engaged in conflict with security forces inside the mall, five days after the shopping centre was stormed on a busy Saturday morning.

"One attacker is still alive," said the source, who is involved in the rescue operation inside Westgate, and who asked not to be named, adding: "There were 200 workers in Nakumatt [supermarket] and 800 people shopping. The walls of Nakumatt collapsed. There are a lot of bodies inside."

Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based, al-Qaida-linked group behind the attack, claimed the government had carried out a "demolition" of the building, burying 137 hostages.

The Kenyan government rejected claims that any militants remained alive, or that they had demolished part of the building, but said the mall's upper–level car park had collapsed, bringing the second level down on to the ground floor on top of at least eight civilians and one or more attackers.

Government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the number of dead – which stood at 67 – already included the bodies of those buried beneath the rubble, and denied the figure would rise further.
Read more here.
Comment: This tragedy is larger than it appears in these early hours after the initial attack last weekend.

But as to be expected the media circus fueled with speculation and racy details has begun to spin stories that supposedly point to this or that connection.

Here in the delusional I can barely force myself to read reports about the "white widow" and her supposed undercover life in South Africa.

 Samantha Lewthwaite: The so called white "white widow"

Samantha Lewthwaite is said to the the "suspected commander of the Kenyan mall terrorists" and it is claimed that she has lived in South Africa under several identity documents and aliases.

Then there is the added reports of intelligence investigations into fundraising and support for  al-Shabab which in turn is linked through direct implication to Muslims in South Africa, particularly Somali immigrants.

Some in my community say that the backlash against Muslims and Islam must be expected.  Strident critical voices are making a noise saying that "the so called religion of peace has struck again and something must be done."

In creating this media circus spurred on by reckless speculation around a very tragic incident the victims of the attack are almost glossed over to get to the sensationalism and finger pointing.

What is also lost is the failed history of western interventions into Somalia that make the Westgate massacre another example of the blowback of imperial policies - including daily drone bombings - directed by successive administrations in Washington.

See Pepe Escobar's article entitled "A Crash Course In Somalization, From Syria To Kenya" (September 24) for a more nuanced conversation of the backstory to Westgate.

Also see Paul Gottinger's article in Counter Point entitled "Savage U.S. Policies: Understanding Kenya’s Westgate Mall Attack" (September 25).  Gottinger sums up the foolishness of allowing the west and its media complex to define what the Westgate shopping mall tragedy means when he writes that:
We must resist being held hostage to the emotions the media tell us we must feel. The cheap, bewildered horror we are to maintain demeans not only ourselves, but the victims as well.

For it only disrespects those killed when we allow the vile media and criminal governments they serve to monopolize the narrative of terror attacks like these. News personalities ask ‘how could this have happened?’ with the same grotesque insincerity that they always summon when an event like this happens. The heavy undercurrents of Islamophobia are predictable.

Allowing governments and the mainstream media to determine what terrorist acts like Westgate mean is somewhat akin to allowing ones murderer to give their eulogy.
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