Cleanup begins at Westgate mall as Kenyan president tells Somalia to 'put house in order'

Store owners at Nairobi's Westgate Mall on Tuesday boarded up their shops and removed leftover merchandise, as investigators from Kenya and abroad continued searching for answers to the four-day terrorist siege.

Amid rotting food remains, broken glass and rubble, a cleanup effort kicked off, but it remained uncertain whether the mall would reopen anytime soon following the bloody attack that killed 67 people on Sept. 21. 

An official told The Associated Press that Westgate is currently controlled by the Kenyan government, whose forensic investigation to find bodies is still active with no projected end in sight.


A soldier at the scene told the AP two more bodies had been found Tuesday, one likely a soldier.

On Monday, some shop owners returning to their businesses for the first time said soldiers sent in to end the siege had made off with valuable electronics, jewelry and cash. Government troops made up the bulk of the security forces hunting down the 10-15 al Shabaab gunmen. 

"We know who's done it but what can we do? They ransacked it. The military secured the place and in that time the place is emptied,” Yasser Harunani, who with his brother worked in a store selling glasses, told Reuters. "This is Kenya. Let's just face it, what's lost is lost."

The AP said dozens of empty beer bottles littered the floor inside the mall. Cash registers had been emptied, as had jewelry display cases. A casino vault door bore bullet holes, but had not been opened. 

"Look, they tried to get into the vault," a casino manager told the AP, adding that the safe was in fact empty. "The other day when we came in and took the money out, this wasn't here."

Al Shabaab said the attack was meant to force Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia.

But Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday he would not be bullied into withdrawing his soldiers -- and took aim at the Somali government.

"If their desire is for Kenya to pull out of Somalia, my friends, all they need to do is what they should have done 20 years ago, which is put their house in order," Kenyatta said at a prayer meeting. 

"I want to be categorically clear: We will stay there until they bring order in their nation," he added.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 


Aftermath of terror shown in new images of Kenyan mall