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Nairobi attack: Obama offers support to Kenyan President

world Updated: Sep 23, 2013 15:21 IST
Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has offered support to his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta to bring to justice the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that left at least 68 people dead.

"Obama reiterated US support for Kenya's efforts to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice," the White House today said after a telephone call between the two leaders.

Obama also reaffirmed the strong and historic partnership between the US and Kenya as well as their shared commitment to combating terrorism and promoting peace and prosperity in East Africa and around the world, the White House said.

At least 68 people including two Indians were killed and 175 injured in the attack carried out by al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab group on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.

In addition to the many Kenyans killed, the Australian, British, Canadian, French, Ghanaian and Somali governments have all acknowledged deaths of their citizens.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the despicable massacre of innocent men, women and children at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

Harf said the US Embassy in Nairobi is closely monitoring the situation, which is still unfolding, and the US has offered its full support to the Kenyan authorities.

"We commend the courageous response by Kenyan security personnel and first responders, governmental and non-governmental, who have stepped forward to help their fellow Kenyan citizens and citizens of other countries affected by this senseless violence," she said.

Five American citizens were injured in Westgate Shopping Mall, she said.

"While all US Government employees, American and Kenyan, are accounted for, our US Government family has been touched by these tragic events. The spouse of a Foreign Service National working for the US. Agency for International Development was killed in the attack," she added.

Harf said US law enforcement, military and civilian personnel in Nairobi are providing advice and assistance when and as requested by the Kenyan authorities.

The US government is also working with the United Nations' offices in Nairobi?to provide first aid procurement assistance, such as blood bags, as requested.

Reiterating that the US remains committed to continuing its close ties with the Kenyan government to combat the shared threat of international terrorism, Harf said al-Shabbab, was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Network in February 2008.

The US has offered rewards for information that helps authorities bring to justice several members of? al-Shabbab.

"The US and Kenya have closely coordinated on border security, enhancing Kenya's capabilities in protecting its citizens from terrorist attacks, and advancing regional cooperation to combat extremism. Our commitment to Kenya remains strong and unbending," Harf said.

Meanwhile in a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the attack, saying "Our nation should offer whatever assistance we can to Kenyan authorities as they seek to free the hostages and bring to justice all those responsible for this heinous crime."