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“As leaders, we are united in ensuring perpetrators of this cowardly act are dealt with accordingly. Terrorism knows no religious or tribal boundaries. Let’s all be united in defeating it,” the leaders said on Sunday.
The Kenyan leaders, from across the political divide, were addressing a joint press conference at State House Nairobi today following the terror attack.
They appealed for calm as the situation is being addressed by security agencies, adding that this is not the time to apportion blame on anyone.
The leaders called on the international community to support Kenya and not issue travel advisories, saying the move would hurt the country’s tourism sector.
President Kenyatta assured Kenyans that security across the country has been beefed up. He advised citizens to remain vigilant and report to the authorities any suspicious people or events.
“The heinous act visited on our people has strengthened our resolve in the fight against terrorism. We shall not relent in this war. We will track the perpetrators and make them pay for their crime,” the President said.
He thanked Kenyans for staying strong and for being there for each other’s sake as the tragic ordeal at the Westgate Mall enters its second day. The evil and cowardly act of terrorism has claimed 59 lives and injured more than 175 people, the President said.
“As your president, as a leader and as a Kenyan, I feel the pain of every life we have lost, and share your grief at our nation’s loss. My nephew and his fiancee are among those who died in this attack,” he said.
Owing to the professional response of the various security agencies at the scene and the selflessness of countless Kenyans, the President said more than 1,000 people were rescued from the Mall and attended to.
He asked Kenyans not to sacrifice their values and dignity to appease cowards but instead stand united in the face of adversity.
“Our victory must be conclusive. Let us defeat them with our unity. By responding quickly and generously to distress calls, we have triumphed,” the President said.
He commended Kenyans for coming out in large numbers to donate blood, give money through mobile devices; and buy and distribute food, blankets and beverages to the affected.
The President pointed out that there are between 10 and 15 armed terrorists inside the mall but the multi-agency response unit is addressing the situation professionally to contain the criminals and keep people still held in the building safe.
The Inspector-General of the Police Service, David Kimaiyo, remains in charge of the situation while teams from the Kenya Defence Forces have supplemented the intervention.
The Head of State said the criminals are now all located in one place within the building and assured Kenyans chances are high that the terrorists will successfully be neutralised.
Former Prime Minister Odinga asked Kenyans to desist from propagating hate messages on social media but instead use the technology to boost national cohesion, Mr. Mudavadi and Dr. Kidero urged Kenyans to shun blame games in relation to the terror attack.
In a show of solidarity, African envoys accredited to Kenya attended the State House press conference and affirmed Africa’s support during this difficult time.
Earlier the leaders visited M.P. Shah and the Aga Khan hospitals in Nairobi to console the injured and wish them quick recovery. They also sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families.