NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed on Sunday that his nephew and the young man’s fiancée were among the 59 people killed in the two-day siege at the Westgate mall in Westlands.
President Kenyatta’s kin Mbugwa Mwangi was with his fiancée Rosemary in the mall during the attack.
“I feel the pain of every life we have lost, and share your grief at our nation’s loss,” the President said, calling his slain relatives “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,” the Head of State added during an official address to the nation from State House.
Mbugwa is the son to Catherine Mwangi, a sister to nominated Senator Beth Mugo and former politician Ngengi Muigai who are first cousins of the president.
Mwangi has served as Kenya’s envoy to Ireland, where she was appointed by former president Mwai Kibaki. Before that diplomatic appointment she had worked as Deputy CEO of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
Other relatives of the Kenyan President, among them his sister Kristina Pratt however escaped unharmed as 10-15 gunman stormed the busy mall shooting people indiscriminately.
Somalia’s Al Qaeda-inspired Shabaab rebels have said the carnage at the shopping complex was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia, where African Union troops are battling the Islamists.
“They shall not get away with their despicable and beastly acts,” Kenyatta said in an emotional speech to the nation. “We will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully.”
More than 1,000 people have been rescued from the mall, but attackers who reportedly include both men and women remain in the building “as well as many unarmed, badly shaken, innocent civilians”, Kenyatta added.