Death toll at 59 as Nairobi Siege Continues

Islamist militants were holding hostages inside a Nairobi shopping mall on Sunday. The attack by the militants started on Saturday afternoon and as many as 59 people have been killed.

The attack was orchestrated and carried out by the al Shabaab militant group that is against the participation of Kenya in peacekeeping missions in Somalia.

Gunfire could be heard ending several hours of uninterrupted silence inside the mall said witnesses on Sunday morning. The mall has a number of outlets owned by Israelis and is frequented often by expats and Kenyans.

Foreigners, including diplomats from Ghana and Canadian were killed in the shooting on Saturday at the Westgate Mall. Witnesses said when the gunman entered they allowed Muslims to leave and were shooting only at non-Muslims.

For a number of hours following Saturday’s attack, the bodies of dead were left lying under tables and strewn on the floors next to meals that had been unfinished.

At one restaurant, a couple was in full embrace lying on the floor dead.

Kenyans gathered near the mall to see what the outcome would be. Most believe it will be violent saying the militants entered causing bloodshed and will leave the same way.

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, said he had close members of his family there were killed in the attack and vowed to defeat those still holding hostages.

Saturday’s assault is the biggest individual attack in the country since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy that killed over 200.

Besides the 59 confirmed deaths, there were more than 175 people treated at hospitals for bullet wounds and other injuries.

The country of Kenya relies heavily on revenue from tourism and this could hurt as it might cause tourists to cancel their plans to visit the country.

The ages of the dead ranged from 2 to 78. A number of those killed had been participating or visiting a cooking competition.

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