NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – A Commission of Inquiry will be set up to investigate if there were lapses that led to the four-day siege at Nairobi’s Westgate mall that left 61 civilians and six military personnel dead.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the inquiry will seek to know what went wrong and recommend ways to prevent such loopholes in future.
“As much as I thank everybody for the contributions they have made during that difficult time we will also be putting in place a Commission of Inquiry to establish if we could have done things better going forward,” he said while addressing an inter-faiths prayer service at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Tuesday.
But even as he held the national security agencies responsible for the safety of the country’s citizens accountable, he was emphatic that Kenyans take individual responsibility for their security.
“As we have been told today we must be our own brother’s keeper. We must be vigilant wherever we are. It’s not humanly possible for our security agents to be at every single place at every one time. But yet you citizens know your neighbour… you know the strangers who walk amongst you,” he pointed out.
He went to categorically state that as the Commander-in-Chief, he will not recall the Kenyan military from Somalia until there is a stable government in place and Somali militants are no longer a threat to the region’s security.
“If their desire if for Kenya to pull out of Somalia my friends, all they need to do is what they should have done 20 years ago which is put their house in order and Kenya will come back to Kenya,” he declared.
Echoing his first national address following the Westgate siege, he went on to point out that all the Al Shabaab militants succeeded in doing when they indiscriminately attacked people at the mall on September 21 is to strengthen Kenya’s resolve to stay in Somalia until respect for the rule of law is engrained.
“Let me remind them that it is they who having had enough of killing themselves in their own country decided to come and interfere in Kenya; kidnapping people, taking hostages. We did not go there. They came here and maybe they had a feeling and a thought that because Kenya was a peaceful civilised society that we would stand by (and do nothing),” he recounted.
And while acknowledging the role Kenya has played in the last 20 years providing refuge to those escaping anarchy in Somalia, the Head of State came short of committing himself on the future of Dadaab refugee camp.
“As Somalis fought Somalis all that Kenya did was to offer refuge to their citizens who had to flee their war-torn nation. Today Kenya has the biggest refugee camp in the world hosting Somalis who have fled their own nation,” he called to mind.
Members of the National Assembly had on Monday insisted that Dadaab refugee camp be closed forthwith and while repatriation has begun taking place, the Executive is yet to sanction a complete shut-down of the camp.