Disaster in Kenya Hits Home

Brittany Cooper
Staff Writer

Fotor0927145915On September 21, an estimated 6-16 suspected Islamic terrorists invaded the Westgate Mall, in an upscale shopping district of Nairobi, Kenya. Brandishing weapons of terrorism, the group attacked everyone in sight, and by the end of the night, 23 people were reported dead.

When security officers, police, and government officials responded, the attackers stood their ground, holding the survivors hostage well into Sunday night. Slowly, victims were released out of the front gate, into a crowd of reporters, medics, and officers.

By Monday, the terrorism had claimed 62 lives, including the nephew and fiance of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and left over 170 injured. More bodies are expected to be uncovered as security forces continue their final sweep of the rubble.

Later Monday evening, a small, Somalia-based political group, al-Shabaab, who is believed to have ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks. It is believed they were acting in response to a military action in October 2011, in which Kenya sent troops into Somalia, who has been suffering political unrest for two decades, and is currently being led under the al-Shabaab, who serve as an armed militia.

Recently, evidence has surfaced that the “White Widow,” a British-native who went missing shortly after her husband died in the suicide bombing attacks of the London Tower in 2005, was connected to the attacks. Witnesses recall a white female among the group of attackers. She is believed to be hiding out in the middle east, working with al-Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations.

This violent act against humanity, has affected one of Upstate’s own; Associate Professor of Sociology, Calvin Odhiambo, who lost his uncle in the attack. We ask that you please keep Professor Odhiambo and all of those affected by this horrific attack, in your thoughts and prayers.

As we recently acknowledged the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we are reminded of the fear and destruction left behind in the wake of such disaster. It was not only American’s that lost their lives that day, but people from all over the world, who were unaware of the fate they were to meet on that sad day. This too, was the case in the West Gate Mall, as American’s, Canadians, and Europeans fell victim to this vicious attack. Terrorism affects everyone, regardless of race, religion, or geographical location. It is a crime against us all, and in times like this, we need to unite as human beings, and work together to bring peace and hope to people everywhere.

A message from Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta: