, NAIROBI, Aug 20 – Kenyan police on Wednesday produced a small arsenal of weapons recovered after last year’s Westgate mall massacre, in the ongoing trial of four men accused of helping the gunmen.
The slow moving trial in Nairobi – which opened in January – has heard evidence from people who were at the mall when the gunmen from Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab launched their attack in September 2013, killing at least 67 people.
Police firearm expert Lawrence Nthiwa produced a report detailing the weapons “recovered from the terrorist attack” in the wreckage of the upmarket mall, which included remains of eight damaged assault rifles.
The arms themselves were displayed in a bundle in court.
But he said it had not been so far possible to determine if the rifles examined had belonged to the attackers – believed to have numbered just four – or from the security forces who spent days in firefights trying to end the seige.
Nthiwa said he had examined evidence gathered after the four-day siege, including almost a thousand spent cartridge cases as well as fired bullets.
“These exhibits were recovered from bodies of victims and the scene of the crime,” he said.
The suspects – Hussein Hassan Mustafa, Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah Omar and Adan Mohammed Abdikadir – are not accused of carrying out the attack, but of providing support to the terrorists.
The four are charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack, being members of a terrorist group and possession of material linked to the terrorism offence.
More than 35 witnesses have so far appeared at the trial, with at least 10 more expected to give evidence.
Shabaab, who said the gunmen came from a special suicide commando brigade, said the attack was a warning to Kenya to pull its troops out of southern Somalia, where they are fighting the extremists as part of an African Union force.
Like the attackers, the four on trial are all ethnic Somalis, but it is unclear whether they are Somali or Kenyan citizens. Two previously worked as Islamic teachers, the other two as small time businessmen.
The trial continues on September 23.