Kenyan army admits that soldiers looted Westgate mall during siege
(telegraph.co.uk)-Two Kenyan soldiers deployed to the Westgate shopping center terror attack have been jailed after they were found to have looted mobile phones during the operation, the head of the country’s army said.
A third officer, two policemen and four civilians were still being questioned over similar accusations, including that one tried to steal a car from the mall car park during the four-day siege.
Five people were still being held in connection with the attack, although sources told The Daily Telegraph they were not believed to have taken part in the assault itself, but “could be associates of the gang”, according to one.
Prosecutors were preparing to charge them, it was reported.
Before Tuesday’s announcement, the Kenyan authorities had denied that any looting took place and the chief of police had threatened to arrest journalists reporting it for “incitement”.
Anger has grown in Kenya over the lack of information about what happened during the September 21 assault by a four-man cell of Islamist gunmen believed to have been sent by Somalia’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab.
At least 67 people died, including six Britons, and more than 200 were injured.
Security chiefs held their first major multi-agency press conference on Tuesday to attempt to respond to claims of a cover-up.
“We instituted our own internal inquiry, [which] has so far found three of our officers with stolen goods,” said Gen Julius Karangi, the head of the Kenya Army.
“Two of them have been sacked and jailed while we are still investigating one case…through our own internal disciplinary system.”
The names of the two soldiers already declared guilty were given as Victor Otieno and Victor Ashihundu, and the third man was named as Isaiah Wanjala. None of their ranks were given.
Separately, detectives were questioning two police officers and four civilians over separate claims of theft from the 80-store mall, where many shop-owners said that their shelves were stripped bare during the siege.
Reports of soldiers emptying bank vaults and a casino safe was in fact officers securing cash totalling more than £2 million at the request of the firms’ directors, said Col Cyrus Oguna, the Kenya Army spokesman.