SA woman missing in Kenya

2013-09-25 08:40

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A South African woman missing in Kenya is presumed dead.

The SA High Commission in Nairobi said she was suspected to have been in the Westgate Mall when it was attacked by Islamist militants at the weekend, The Star reported today.

High Commissioner Super Moloi said the woman had not contacted her family since the attack.

With the mall seemingly cleared of hostages yesterday, Moloi told The Star his team had been forced to abandon the hope she was still alive, and start searching the mortuaries for her body.

They were also searching for any other South Africans who might have been killed in the attack.

So far, one South African man, James Thomas (57) was killed in the attack.

As Kenya began three days of mourning today for at least 67 people killed in the siege, it was unclear how many more hostages may have died with the attackers buried in the rubble.

Declaring final victory over the al Qaeda-linked gunmen from al-Shabaab, President Uhuru Kenyatta said three floors in a part of the mall had collapsed near the end of the operation, leaving an unknown number of bodies under steel and concrete.

It was not clear what caused the structure to come down.

Five militants had been shot dead, Kenyatta said, and six security personnel died in the four days of fighting.

Sixty-one civilians had so far been confirmed dead, Kenyatta added.

Kenyan officials declined to say how many of 63 people, whom the Red Cross had earlier classed as unaccounted for, may also have died in a showdown with guerrillas who had threatened to kill their hostages and go down fighting.

Eleven people suspected of involvement with the well-planned and executed assault were in custody, the Kenyan president added. But he did not say how many, if any, were gunmen taken alive and how many may have been people arrested elsewhere.

It was also unclear whether intelligence reports of American or British gunmen would be confirmed. Al Shabaab denied any women took part, after British sources said the fugitive widow of one of the 2005 London suicide bombers might have had some role.

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