Terrorism & Insurgency

KDF under fire after mall siege

03 October 2013
Smoke rises from the Westgate mall after multiple large blasts on 23 September. The cause of the explosions and the subsequent collapse of part of the mall remain unclear. Source: PA Photos

Soldiers from the KDF's 20th Parachute Battalion come under fire at the entrance of the Westgate mall. They are armed with FN Herstel 7.62 mm SCAR-H assault rifles. (PA Photos)Soldiers from the KDF's 20th Parachute Battalion come under fire at the entrance of the Westgate mall. They are armed with FN Herstel 7.62 mm SCAR-H assault rifles. (PA Photos)

The Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) are facing mounting criticism in the wake of the terrorist assault on Nairobi's Westgate mall between 21-24 September.

Claims by eyewitnesses that some militants escaped in the initial hours of the attack remain unsubstantiated, but have prompted criticism that the authorities failed to implement an effective perimeter until too late. Journalists and armed civilian volunteers have said they were able to enter and exit the mall for at least four hours after the attack began.

This delay was in part due to the time it took to deploy KDF personnel to the scene, with the New York Times reporting that at least one specialist unit had to be flown in from Somalia.

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