, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – The government says that it will continue holding the eight suspects in its custody for as long as it takes because it is in no hurry to charge them in court, following the Westgate shopping mall attack.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku told journalists on Friday that the government was acting under the Anti Terrorism Act, which allows it to hold suspects for periods longer than the normal 24 hours before taking them to court.
Eleven suspects had been arrested but three of them were freed.
“This being terrorism activity, we are operating under the Anti Terrorism Act which allows for suspects to be held for longer periods before being arraigned in court,” explained Lenku.
He however declined to reveal the identities, nationalities and gender of those being held saying the government would share this information once forensic investigations at the terror site are completed.
The role that British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite might have played is still being investigated but Lenku would not divulge any further information on her.
“The forensic investigations going on are making progress and it would be prejudicial to state what is happening. We want to ask Kenyans to give time for the investigators to unravel the work they are doing,” he said.
He added that access to the Westgate mall would be limited to security personnel in order to safeguard the purity of evidence at the crime scene.
Journalists who have been waiting to access the site will not be able to do so just yet.
“It is however important to point out that normalcy is returning and some sections of Peponi road have been opened. Apart from the mall, business can continue in other adjacent buildings including Nakumatt Ukay and Peponi Plaza,” explained Lenku.
He at the same time assured Kenyans that the country was safe and that security had been beefed up in the country and more so at the border points.
Lenku added that the incident in Mandera, where two police officers died in a gun attack, had been ‘attended to’.
“The country is secure and Kenyans can go about their businesses although we ask them to remain alert,” he said.