, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – Joint parliamentary committees probing the Westgate terror attack commenced public hearings on Monday, receiving testimony from three civilians who said they had information on security lapses prior to the strike.
The three, however, appeared in-camera, after they requested the MPs’ team not to expose them to the public.
“The three members of the public have requested that they want to appear before us in the private capacities and would not like their names to be made public, and as such we have to comply,” committee co-chairman Asman Kamama told reporters before chairing the meeting at Parliament buildings.
The committee is on Wednesday expected to hear evidence from Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who has sensationally claimed that he took two women to record statements with the National Intelligence Service and the police prior to the Westgate attack, but it was not acted upon.
“I know I will shock many people here. These people have remained in this area planning the attack for about three months and despite the investigators getting that information they could not quell the attack,” said Sonko two weeks ago when the Senate discussed the attack that claimed 67 civilians, six security officers and left over 200 people injured.
He said the women of “either Asian or Arabic origin” had approached him three months ago with information to the effect that the terrorists, who had rented a house in Parklands and Westlands, was planning a major attack.
“They mentioned Westgate Mall, Village Market, Parliament Buildings and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (where the Senate currently holds its sittings) as their targets,” claimed Sonko.
The Defence and Foreign Relations and the Administration and National Security committees are expected to jointly summon National Intelligence Service Director General Michael Gichangi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro and Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku.
Forensic and terrorism experts will be invited to help make clear the incident which has left many questions unanswered.
On the third week, the House committees will visit Garissa, Moyale, Wajir, Mandera, Mombasa, the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps where major attacks have previously occurred.