A militant group linked to Al-Qaeda took responsibility for an attack on a mall in an upscale district of Nairobi, Kenya that lasted four days. At least sixty-one civilians, six Kenyan Special Forces soldiers, and five of the attackers were killed, and approximately 175 civilians and soldiers were injured. The death toll may still rise once a collapsed section of the mall is cleared.
The fifteen gunmen (apparently including one woman) with AK-47s and other sophisticated weapons are believed to be based in Somalia and were targeting non-Muslim Kenyans and Westerners in the area.
The gunmen entered the Westgate Mall and tossed grenades and opened fire on panicked shoppers. The gunman asked Muslims to leave before opening fire. “They came and said: ‘If you are Muslim, stand up. We’ve come to rescue you,” said one witness. They quizzed them to determine if they were really Muslim. The Muslims left with their hands up, and then the gunmen began shooting.
The militant group has carried out attacks on Kenyans near the border of Somalia and has been blamed for church bombings there. The group vowed to attack Nairobi two years ago after Kenya sent troops and bombers into Somalia to get control of the border situation.
Many United Nations workers and other expatriate Westerners live near the mall, which has a lot of Western brand-name stores. There are also a lot of Western hotels in the area. The mall has light security, which is no match for the gunmen.
Ironically, Kenya was celebrating the International Day of Peace when the attack took place.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
The senseless violence brings to mind the words of Jesus who said the conditions of the antediluvian world just before the flood would be repeated before the second coming.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Genesis 6:11-13