Kenya mall attackers must be held accountable: Somali PM

  • AFP, Geneva
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2013 03:19 IST

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said Tuesday the Shebab militants behind Nairobi's deadly four-day mall siege must be brought to justice.

Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters stormed the upmarket Westgate mall on Saturday, spraying shoppers with automatic weapons fire and tossing grenades, before engaging in fierce gun battles with Kenyan security forces.

The attack, one of the worst in Kenya's history, finally ended on Tuesday, leaving at least 61 civilians and six members of the security forces dead. "Those responsible must be held accountable," the premier said during a UN human rights meeting in Geneva. "This tragedy has brought our countries closer." Farah Shirdon said a military solution was "not enough" and calling for greater stability to deter young people from following the path of the Shebab. "Promotion of the rule of law, greater regional cooperation, economic stability and provision of public services are all key factors that complement the military efforts," he said. "It is therefore essential to create educational and economic opportunity for youth."

The Islamists said the attack was in retaliation for the presence of Kenyan troops in their country. Kenya invaded southern Somalia to attack Shebab bases two years ago, joining forces with a Somali militia warlord and wresting the key port of Kismayo from the extremists. The troops later joined the 17,700-strong African Union force deployed in Somalia.

Shebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage on Tuesday warned of further attacks if Kenyan troops did not pull out of Somalia immediately.

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