Today, September 23, 2023, Kenya is marking 10 years since militants from Al-Shabab attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, where more than 60 people were killed.
On a fateful Saturday in 2013, four armed men from the al-Shabab terror group stormed Westgate Mall and attacked shoppers, killing anyone on sight.
Following the attack, there was a siege during which the attackers engaged security forces in a day-long gun battle. This culminated in the deaths of 67 people and more than 150 injuries.
Kenyan security forces were criticised for how they handled the attack and for their lack of coordination in dealing with the militants who sieged the mall.
However, terror threats in the capital have since decreased, though the group continues to perpetrate attacks along Kenya’s coast and in the country’s northeastern region.
In October 2020, a Kenyan court found two men guilty for their roles in the deadly 2013 Westgate mall attack. After their conviction for conspiring with and aiding the attackers, the men were sentenced to prison. But the security improvements and some courtroom convictions are yet to heal the hundreds who survived and lost family and friends.
The mall was reopened in 2015, though some of the people who had been trapped there still have bad and painful memories of the incident.
A heightened security presence in the capital has reduced the number of attacks, though al-Shabab continues to carry out frequent attacks in northeastern and coastal regions.
Al-Shabab has vowed to wage war against Kenya until Kenyan troops are withdrawn from the country, where they were deployed in 2011.
10 years after the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, Al-Shabaab appears committed to striking targets across East Africa and Africa as a whole, with recent attacks in Uganda, Somalia, and the DRC.