, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has categorically declared that his government will not relent in the fight against terrorism.
The President who spoke in a televised address from State House said Saturday’s attack will only serve to strengthen the resolve against terrorism.
“I call on Kenyans to stand courageous and united. Let us not sacrifice our values and dignity to appease cowards. Our victory must be conclusive. Let us defeat them with our unity. Let us continue to wage a relentless moral war as our forces conduct the physical battle. We shall triumph,” he asserted.
Kenyatta said the attackers would be punished swiftly and painfully for orchestrating the attack that killed 59 people and left at least 200 others wounded.
The President who spoke at a joint press briefing with government and opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi also advised western nations against issuing travel advisories following the incident.
According to Kenyatta, terrorism is an international crime affecting all countries hence Kenya should not be punished by them issuing travel advisories that will water down Kenya’s main revenue earner – tourism.
He pledged that the government will do all its best to save the people still held by the terrorists and also get hold of the attackers.
The Head of State said he was confident the hostage situation would be resolved as soon as possible, after forces stormed the mall in the ongoing security operation.
“The Al-Shabaab terror group has claimed responsibility for this cowardly act of terror on social media. However, investigations are underway to conclusively establish those responsible for this mayhem, so that we can have full accountability. They shall not get away with their despicable, beastly acts. Like the cowardly perpetrators now cornered in the building, we will punish the masterminds swiftly and painfully,” he said.
He encouraged people to continue being there for the affected families in prayers and also work together with the authorities to flash out any criminals planning such attacks.
“By responding quickly and generously to distress calls, we have triumphed. By standing in long lines all over the city to give blood, donating money through our mobile devices, buying and distributing food, blankets and beverages to the affected, we have ashamed and defeated our attackers,” Kenyatta noted.
Kenyatta himself is affected by the attack after losing his nephew and the young man’s fiancée.
“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 fiancée are among those who died in this attack. These are young, lovely people I personally knew and loved. Many of us have lost loved ones. Let us mourn them all as one nation, and keep them always in remembrance and prayer,” he mourned.
Odinga also urged the international community to extend support to Kenya and refrain from issuing travel advisories.
He also called on Kenyans to stay united despite the attack.
He warned social media users against spreading hate messages that would weaken the unity of the country.
Mudavadi also urged Kenyans to refrain on blame games but focus on supporting the affected people and also aid the authorities in identifying criminals in the country.
Following the attack, over 1,000 people were rescued and the country only hopes that the remaining people being held hostage will also be freed safely.
Kenyatta said it was estimated that about 15 attackers were still in the building holding innocent people hostage.
The unique press conference was attended by leaders from government, opposition and members of the diplomat corps in demonstration of Kenya’s solidarity and commitment to fight and protect their country from terrorism.