NAIROBI, Kenya – The gunmen who attacked an upscale mall in Kenya’s capital, killing at least 67 people, likely died in the attack, an FBI official has said.
Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the Sept. 21 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall. Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya sending its troops to Somalia to fight the militants.
Dennis Brady, the FBI Legal Attache in Nairobi, said in an interview posted Friday on the bureau’s website: “We believe, as do the Kenyan authorities, that the four gunmen inside the mall were killed.”
“Our ERT (Evidence Response Team) made significant finds, and there is no evidence that any of the attackers escaped from the area where they made their last stand,” he said.
A very secure crime scene perimeter made an escape unlikely, he said.
“Additionally, had the attackers escaped, it would have been publicly celebrated and exploited for propaganda purposes by al-Shabab. That hasn’t happened,” he said in the posted interview.
Kenyan authorities say they have recovered the charred remains of bodies believed to be those of the attackers from the debris in the mall.
A New York Police Department report on the attack raised the possibility the gunmen may have escaped.
The top State Department official for Africa, Linda Greenfield-Thomas, said in December the NYPD report doesn’t reflect the U.S. government position.