It was a hallowing ordeal, horrific, bloody and unfortunate. In what started as a typical sunny Saturday for most of us turned out to be one the worst and dreadful weekends. I remember getting the news of some gunshots at Westgate around 11 in the morning and I quickly rubbished that as a normal robbery which would be contained in no time. But it is only when I got home and switched the T.V, and for minutes I stood still not certainly believing what I was watching. Survivors run out of the building covering their mouths seemingly very traumatised. They were so close to death, fresh blood was strongly smelling, screaming victims and crying children was the ambiance.
I happened to sample exclusive photos of dead people lying all over the top floor of Westgate which also served as a car park. The terrorists were so inhumane that they went under the cars parked to kill those who had hidden. A cross section of children and their parents full of life minutes ago quickly changed to scenes akin to Syria.
The terrorists had smartly planned their operation, taking advantage of weaknesses in our national security system. In fact one international newspaper was quoted saying, “behind this terrorism act is massive corruption.” I tend to concur fully, how these terrorists got to Kenya months ago, how they finally got valid I.Ds, how they rented a stall within Westgate, how they brought in armories inside the building with all the security details are questions that beg answers.
The intelligence was found flat footed.Its time to hold people accountable. Without intelligence we are cooked. We must move with time, embrace technology and hire people who understand what terrorism is. I was moved by a story I read in the papers this week about a kid who wrote a composition that is now helping detectives. It all started when a class teacher, told the pupils to write a composition about their weekend. So this kid wrote about how a stranger saved their mother who is also pregnant. The stranger told the mother to quickly walk out of Westgate as there was to be a stampede and people would be killed. This tells how the terrorists were strategically positioned waiting for their accomplices to arrive.
Hard questions must now be asked starting with; How many terrorists were involved in that attack? Kenya government has maintained they were 10-15 but international media is estimating 25-30 heavily armed ? Secondly, how many were killed and where are the rest? Thirdly, what is the fate of the said 30 hostages? Forth, who was responsible for caving in of the upper floors? Fifth, what is the fate of the missing people who are estimated to be over sixty? Sixth, how did the terrorists manage to get in Kenya and indeed rent a stall inside Westgate? Seventh, was there an insider with some connections to management of the building who helped them get the architectural plan of the building, CCTV and power main centers of the building? Eight, how come the police discovered of the tunnel so late? Was Samantha Lewthwaite involved?
I rest my case hoping someday we will get answers. I also hope we learnt as a country, that security starts with you and me. There is so much that our security agencies can do but without community policing and co operation they won’t achieve much.
I pass my condolences to the bereaved, may the Lord grant you peace of mind and comfort you at this difficult time, may their souls rest in God’s love. For the maimed, quickest recovery. We as a country must refuse to die prematurely in the hands of criminals.
As the president said, our heads are bloodied but unbowed.