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World leaders condemn Westgate Mall attack

Saturday September 21 2013

The entrance to the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. WILLIAM OERI

The entrance to the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. Photo/FILE 

JOHN NGIRACHU
By JOHN NGIRACHU
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The attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall has been greeted with outrage and an outpouring of grief by leaders who promised to stand with Kenya.

From New York, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called President Uhuru Kenyatta and expressed his solidarity with Kenyans.

“The Secretary-General is following closely and with alarm the attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi. The Secretary-General has spoken to President Uhuru Kenyatta and expressed his concern as well as offering his solidarity as the Kenyan authorities handle the incident,” he said in a statement.

Mr Ban was reported to have been receiving regular briefings from his senior advisers.

From London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague was reported to be in contact with Kenyan ministers and authorities.

“We are aware of a major security incident underway at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi. We are in close contact with the Kenyan authorities on the ground in Kenya and at ministerial level in the United Kingdom,” said Mr Hague in a brief statement.

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“The prime consideration at present is the welfare of members of the public caught up in this incident,” he said

Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also sent his condolences.

MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY

"We in Somalia know only too well the human costs of violence like this,” the President said. “Our prayers today are with our brothers and sisters in Kenya. We also send a strong message of solidarity with the Kenyan government, our valued partners in the campaign to bring peace to Somalia.

"These heartless acts against defenceless civilians, including innocent children, are beyond the pale and cannot be tolerated. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Kenya in its time of grief for these lives lost and the many injured.”

Meanwhile, the management of Artcaffe,  a restaurant at the mall, said all its staff had been evacuated.

“We are currently caring and attending to our injured staff, reaching out to their families, and praying for all those that have been harmed in today’s horrible events,” the management said in a statement.

“The Artcaffe Family is shocked and horrified at the incidents that have taken place today at Westgate Mall. As one of the many businesses affected by this heart wrenching attack, we send our condolences to every soul who was in the Mall today, and to all the families of those who have been hurt and injured."