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Dozens missing after mall siege

Nairobi -

At least 69 people are confirmed to have been killed and 63 more recorded missing in an ongoing Nairobi shopping mall siege, Kenya’s Red Cross said on Monday.

Security officers secure an area inside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Credit: Reuters

The 63 recorded missing are thought to include both hostages still being held by Islamist militants fighting Kenyan troops inside the complex, as well as those possibly killed in the three-day-long siege.

Others may be hiding in the sprawling centre.

As the stand-off entered its third day, sustained bursts of rapid gunfire erupted at dawn and lasted 15 minutes, and soldiers posted around the mall ducked for cover.

Somali Al-Shabaab militants on Monday threatened to kill hostages they are holding as Kenyan troops move to end their siege.

Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said in a security update on Monday that “a few” hostages remain in the mall, but would not give precise figures.

Al-Shabaab have not said how many people were being held by the attackers, who marched into the four-storey building at midday on Saturday, spraying shoppers with machine gunfire and tossing grenades.

“We authorise the mujahedeen inside the building to take actions against the prisoners as much as they are pressed,” Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement posted on an Islamist website. - Sapa-AFP

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