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2 suspected terrorists arrested as vigilance is heightened on Westgate Mall anniversary

The Westgate Mall attack on September 21, 2013 left 71 people dead among them 62 civilians, five Kenyan soldiers, and four attackers/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – The Inspector General of the National Police Service (NPS) Joseph Boinnet has called for vigilance as two suspected terrorists were arrested in Eastleigh on Thursday night on the eve of the fifth anniversary of an attack on the Westgate Mall in Westlands.

According to Boinnet the police had obtained intelligence on a plot by Al Shabaab, the group that claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack, to infiltrate its operatives with an aim of staging an attack.

He told Capital FM News that the police service was working to neutralize any planned attack by the terror cell.

“We wish to inform that whilst every effort is being made to uncover and neutralize such plots, we call on the public to exercise higher levels of alertness and to report promptly anything noted that’s out of the ordinary to the police for immediate action,” he said.

The Westgate Mall attack on September 21, 2013 left 71 people dead among them 62 civilians, five Kenyan soldiers, and four attackers.

Some 200 people were injured when the mass shooting occurred as Kenya’s elite forces responded to neutralize the attackers.

The current Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji was among Kenyans who were at the mall at the time of the attack.

His brother Abdul Haji who responded to the attack following a distress call by Noordin told BBC on September 27, 2013 the rescue operation was complex requiring extra caution to avoid civilian casualties.

“When we were trying to find a way to take the terrorists by surprise, we realized that there was a lady hiding under a promotional table at the supermarket in the mall. We decided we could not engage the terrorist because we had civilians right in the middle of the crossfire,” Abdul narrated.

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“We regrouped, re-strategized so that we could let the civilians out before we take on the terrorists,” he explained.

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