Nairobi — The death toll in Westgate mall attack has risen to 59.
Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said a delicate operation was still underway to free remaining hostages and neutralise the attackers who remained holed up in the shopping mall more than 20 hours after the attack occurred.
He criticised one of the local dailies that published a photo of one of the victims, saying it had brought anguish to the families of the victim.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet earlier said that the number of casualties has also raised to over 200.
“KDF has taken over the management of the facility for now so we will wait to see what the outcome would be when we start the operation,” he said.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack on the shopping mall.
The militia group said on Twitter that they had killed over 100 people.
“(@HSM_Press):Since our last contact, the Mujahideen inside the mall confirmed to @HSM_Press that they killed over 100 Kenyan kuffar & battle continues,” Al Shabaab tweeted.
Kenyan army reinforcements were pouring into the upmarket Nairobi shopping mall early on Sunday as operations to end the stand-off with Islamist rebels continued.
Large numbers of soldiers in helmets and flak jackets, some carrying rocket-propelled grenades, could be seen headed towards the mall.
The Kenyan interior ministry said the upper floors of the four-storey mall had been secured, and that the attackers had been isolated somewhere on the ground floor or in the basement.
An unknown number of hostages were also still trapped inside, officials said during the night.