Johannesburg - The murder of at least 69 people by Somali militants at shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is appalling, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Monday.
“No conceivable reason can however justify such a brutal murder of civilians. No cause can be served by such indiscriminate spilling of the blood of innocents,” spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.
Over 175 people were wounded and others held hostage on Saturday.
“Cosatu is appalled at this carnage.”
The Somalia-based Al Shebab group justified the attack as a retaliation for Kenyan troops taking part in an African Union operation in Somalia.
Cosatu sent its condolences to the families and friends of all those killed, and wished the best towards the injured.
Earlier on Monday, international relations and co-operation department spokesman Clayson Monyela said South African officials were in touch with Kenyan authorities following the attack.
“Our officials are on the ground and are in touch with local authorities. South Africans in the area should contact the South African mission on the ground if they require assistance,” he said.
Monyela said in a statement on Sunday a South African had died during a shoot-out at the mall in Kenya.
The Star identified him as Capetonian businessman James Thomas, 57. Thomas was in Kenya for business when gunmen, attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi on Saturday. They reportedly spared Muslims.
Thomas went to the mall on Saturday afternoon with colleagues. He had been shot once.
Thomas was in Kenya for work he did for EcoVentures International as a field associate. He was also the chairman of the Cape Town Pro Cantu Youth Choir.
Agence France-Presse reported on Monday that around a dozen assailants were involved in the attack.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported Kenyan Interior Minister Ole Lenku as stating that the ongoing military operation at the mall had seen two of the militants killed and nearly all hostages freed on Monday.