Four handcuffed ethnic Somali men walked by the gaping, four-story hole in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall on Tuesday, part of an organized tour so court officials could visualize how the multi-day siege unfolded.
The four ethnic Somalis are accused of aiding the four al-Shabab gunmen who carried out the attack which killed at least 67 people. Their trial is already under way.
Kenyan police who responded to the mid-day attack, when the mall was full of families with children, walked through the mall with Chief Magistrate Daniel Ochenja, and pointed out where gun battles with the four terrorists took place.
“I was shooting at this pillar and my colleague was at the other pillar,” Ali Miraj, an administrative police officer who was at the mall during the attack, told Ochenja during the tour. “When they tried to go up the escalators we shot at them and they went back.”
“You said you shot somebody in the leg,” the magistrate said. “Yes,” Miraj responded.
A massive fire and the subsequent collapse of the back side of the mall left Westgate in smoldering ruins. A high-ranking police official has previously told The Associated Press that rocket-propelled grenades fired by the military at the attackers helped cause the collapse. Kenyan officials and the FBI say four gunmen carried out the attack, and that it appears all four died in the mall’s collapse and fire.
On Tuesday the magistrate walked over ripped-down insulation while police climbed over air ducts ripped from the ceilings. Construction workers continued to clear out debris. Inside Nakumatt, the main department store, charred cash-registers and TVs have all been removed. Most stores are barren. Shattered glass and bullet holes remain.
The four accused, who have pleaded not guilty, walked in pairs, handcuffed to one another. Dressed in sports jerseys, their eyes darted around the destruction with a hint of wonder on their faces.