, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – The joint parliamentary committees on Defence and National Security probing the Westgate mall attack have invited the public to provide information that touches on the September 21 terror attack and any impending attacks.
National Security Committee chairman Asman Kamama said they hope to gather information from members of the public amid claims and counter-accusations between government agencies over the manner in which the operation was handled.
“We have put an advert to invite all Kenyans, and anybody who has information to forward it to this committee so that we can commence our investigation and get to the bottom of things.”
“We want to assure Kenyans that as the National Assembly we will investigate, establish and see whether the people who are directly in charge of our security slept on their jobs, and make recommendations on the action needed to address future terrorist threats in this country.”
Kamama says they will inquire into all questions that have been raised over intelligence lapses and the operation that lasted four days.
Defence Chairman Gethenji Ndung’u said the MPs will further seek to establish if the deployment of the military derailed the operation, at a time when personnel from the elite Reece Company – an elite squad of the General Service Unit – had pushed the terrorists to one corner of the mall.
The committee will also conduct interviews with spy chief Michael Gichangi, Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, Criminal Investigations Department Director Ndegwa Muhoro and Internal Security Secretary Joseph ole Lenku.
The joint committee bringing together members from the National Security and Administration and that on Foreign Relations and Defence commenced it probe which seeks to expose security lapses which allowed the Westgate mall terrorist attack to happen on Monday.
The MPs visited the shopping mall where personnel from Kenya Defence Forces said they are yet to find bodies of the five alleged Westgate mall attackers.
The KDF on Monday told the House team that they suspected the gunmen had retreated to one corner, where they died and their bodies are covered by rubble.
“There is stench from the area covered by rubble and the military informed us that they suspect the five bodies of the terrorists are stuck there,” Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno said.
Sixty one civilians died after militants from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab stormed the Westgate on September 21. Six security agents were killed in the ensuing gun-battle.
Five militants were killed by security forces during the four-day siege, while nine people are in custody after being arrested in connection with the attacks, authorities say.
Al-Shabaab, a Somali Islamist group, said the attack was in retaliation to Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia.