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Return to malls, Kenyans and foreigners urged

TURNER-KANDIENAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – The government is encouraging members of the public not to shun shopping malls following the Westgate terror attack since security has been heightened.

Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie on Friday noted that business owners are making losses after the attack, as fewer shoppers visit malls.

“In showing solidarity with the business owners at the malls we are encouraging fellow shoppers to return to the shopping malls. Business owners have suffered as a result of the attack making great losses because few shoppers visit the malls.”

British High Commissioner Christian Turner who accompanied Kandie to the Thika Road Mall for shopping says he is impressed by security measures put in place by the government after the Westgate terror attack.

Turner explained that security has been intensified to ensure safety of the shoppers.

“The government and mall owners have increased the security by conducting thorough checks of the cars and persons coming into the mall,”

“The British government continues to support the Kenyan to recover the economy after the act of terrorism.”

“Many shoppers from the international community are coming into the malls as they are sure of their security,” explained Turner.

Most shopping malls and other business places have heightened security checks while others have retained armed police officers.

Sixty one civilians and six security agents were killed during the attack that also led to the killing of five terrorists.

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On Thursday, the government pledged to support and facilitate business owners at the Westgate mall back on their feet following the attack.

Kandie gave assurance that the government will spearhead an integrated business recovery strategy that will ensure the speedy restoration of the iconic mall.

She announced that her ministry would establish a working committee comprising Westgate shopping mall stakeholders who will be tasked with advising on the immediate action and partnership necessary geared at facilitating rapid restoration.

She said that the committee will also identify the immediate actions taken by the Government to safeguard against possible loss of more than 2,000 direct jobs resulting from the incident.

During the September 29 reopening of Nakumatt Ukay which is adjacent to the Westgate mall, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said the most important thing is for people to move on despite the fear and big losses suffered.

“As difficult as it is, we must get back to normal life. That is the only way we will show the people who attacked us that they have not dented and they have no capacity of denting our indomitable, pioneering, hardworking, resolute and positive Kenyan spirit,” he urged.

Before the attack, the mall was supporting an economic ecosystem, valued at more than Sh100 billion annually.

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