DNA tests on Westgate bodies need time

October 3, 2013 3:40 pm
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Families of missing persons thought to have been at the Westgate shopping mall during the four-day siege were invited to the City Mortuary to provide DNA samples/MIKE KARIUKI
Families of missing persons thought to have been at the Westgate shopping mall during the four-day siege were invited to the City Mortuary to provide DNA samples/MIKE KARIUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor is urging families of persons missing from the Westgate attack to give them time to conduct DNA tests on unidentified bodies retrieved from rubble at the shopping mall.

Oduor says they have already conducted post-mortems on eight bodies at the City Mortuary and are undertaking the identification exercise with the help of UK experts.

“We have one pathologist from United Kingdom together with police officers since investigations have so many angles; the post-mortem part and collection of evidence,” he explained.

“We are working together by using our experiences for the good of the relatives.”

The pathologist told journalists on Thursday that only two of the bodies have been identified as those of two Kenya Defence Force soldiers who were killed during a confrontation with the attackers.

“We have the body parts taken of those affected in the Westgate tragedy and together with DNA experts from the Government Chemist we are working to identify them,” he stated.

Families of missing persons thought to have been at the Westgate shopping mall during the four-day siege were invited to the City Mortuary to provide DNA samples to help in the identification exercise.

The Kenya Red Cross says 39 people are still missing after the attack that claimed lives of 67 civilians, six security forces and five attackers.

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the September 21 attack at the shopping mall.

Part of the rooftop parking at the mall collapsed after heavy explosions and a fierce gunfire, leaving the key area where the insurgents are understood to have made their final stand – along with possible hostages – buried under tonnes of concrete rubble.

In addition, Kenyan officials have said five attackers were killed, but it is not clear if all – or any – of those bodies have been recovered.

Some of the families of those missing have provided DNA samples to help identify unclaimed bodies, at the City Mortuary.

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