Lessons learnt by police from the Westgate attack

September 21, 2014 9:52 am
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According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, the country’s security response is now more enhanced after the Westgate terror attack. Photo/FILE.
According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, the country’s security response is now more enhanced after the Westgate terror attack. Photo/FILE.
NAIROBI Kenya, Sept 21 – When 67 people were killed and property worth millions destroyed following the Westgate terror attack, both the government vowed ensure it does not occur again.

The attack did not dampen the spirit of investors more so those focused in shopping mall business as many continue to crop up across the country.

The four-day siege however, left Kenya’s security forces with numerous criticisms on how they handled the rescue operation, with many saying they failed to perform to their expectation.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo however, said he is satisfied with the performance of his offices.

“We did our best in the prevailing circumstances,” the police chief said Saturday following constant accusations that the police and military had blundered by failing to save more lives during the four-day siege perpetrated by four armed terrorists linked to the Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab.

Raw CCTV footage released soon after the attack shows the confusion that characterized the rescue operation, including instances when the military and police were seen differing on how to manage the rescue operation, leading to the fatal shooting of three officers by the military.

A year later, we sought the views of security experts on what lessons should be learnt from the terror attack that occurred on September 21, 2013.

“After the Westgate incident, there is a number of lapses and gaps that were noted but looking back after the incident I believe certain measures have already been put in place,” said Bashir Haji Abdullah, a retired military officer.

With the formation of the new military command, he said, and changes in the immigration definitely something has been happening in the back room.

“There is no doubt there are lessons learnt by everyone,” he said.

Abdullah admits that during the attack, there was lack of better work plan between the police and the military.

“There is a certain channel that is now required…in any internal matter whoever is in charge is the police but of course the military will come in to assist,” he told Capital FM News, concluding, “We have learnt our lesson; it will never be the same again.”

According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, the country’s security response is now more enhanced after the Westgate terror attack.

“We learnt a lot from that incident, our officers are more alert, we never take any chances at all,” Lenku said.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo announced on Saturday that he had ordered officers countrywide to be on high alert following fears of an attack as Kenyans commemorate the September 2013 tragedy.

“We are prepared for anything, our officers are on high alert in all parts of the country and we urge the public to work closely with us,” the police chief said, and defended actions of the police during the siege that followed the attack following accusations that police did not do enough to save lives.

“In the circumstances, we did our best, we tried as much to save lives and cannot be blamed at all,” he said.

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