Westgate Attackers Used Helicopter Owned By Kenyan Politician

Kenyan Detectives probing last month’s attack at the Westgate shopping Mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi now believe six of the attackers hired a private chopper from Dadaab refugee camp to Nairobi.

The investigators said the six terrorists chose to use a helicopter in early September fearing that they might be easily identified should they travel by road.

The detectives believe the attackers were carrying weapons used in the attack. The chopper is owned by a former politician and the pilot was questioned and released.

Smoke rises from the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi following a string of explosions during the third day of a stand-off between Kenyan security forces and gunmen inside the buildingPicture: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
Smoke rises from the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi following a string of explosions during the third day of a stand-off between Kenyan security forces and gunmen inside the buildingPicture: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

The attackers are believed to have crossed over from Somalia six months ago into Dadaab, where they posed as refugees as they planned the September 21 attack that claimed more than 70 lives.

Investigators are also pursuing a Turkish national believed to have rented a shop at the first floor of the Westgate Mall a year ago, where the attackers stocked weapons they used in the attack.

Investigators say the Turkish national, whose name they declined to release, rented the shop but did not use it until six months ago when he started selling phones.

However, it is believed that the business was a cover and the shop a strategic location for the attackers who went ahead and fitted a bulletproof glass under the guise of doing renovations.

The Turkish national flew out of the country on Friday 20, September, a day before the attack, with a man of Indian descent whom they believe rented an apartment near Westgate for the terrorists.

Detectives are also looking for a white BMW car owned by the Turkish national and which they believe was used to ferry the attackers around town.

It has also emerged that a woman known as Wanjiru from Kangari village in Nyeri County was one of the attackers and the detectives are now seeking to know whether or not she was killed during the attack.

Other officials said the arrest had foiled another similar planned attack on a popular social spot in the city. “They planned to attack people using grenades and guns but we have thwarted the plans,” said the officer who asked not to be named.

This follows the seizure of more than 20 grenades from a house in Majengo slums in the city a week after the Westgate attack.

It is not clear how many people were arrested from the house where the explosives were seized but informed officials said the recovery was a step forward in the war on terrorism.

FBI agents along with investigators from Britain, Canada, Israel and Germany were dispatched to investigate the crime scene.

There have been no details on what the international team has found so far in the bullet-scarred mall but they are expected to independently submit their reports.

Agencies

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks