October 30, 2020
Mohamed Ahmed Abdi, left, and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, center, are escorted away after being sentenced for their involvement in the Westgate Mall attack of Sept. 2013, in Nairobi, on Oct. 30, 2020. Photo: VOA
By Keminni Amanor | VOA News
A Kenyan court Friday sentenced two men to 33 and 18 years in prison for their roles in the 2013 Westgate Mall attack that killed 67 people in Nairobi.
Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa are accused of assisting Al-Shabab extremists, who masterminded the four-day siege on the upscale mall in the Kenyan capital.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi sentenced the pair to 18 years for conspiracy and 18 years for supporting terrorists. Those sentences will be served concurrently.
Abdi was given an additional 15-year jail sentence for possession of materials promoting terrorism. The two men have spent seven years in jail, and Andayi said those years will be deducted from their sentences.
The whereabouts of a third defendant, Libyan Abdullah Omar, who was acquitted in the trial in early October, remains unknown after he was taken by gunmen.
All three defendants are ethnic Somalis, including two Kenyan citizens.
The mall attack came two years after Kenya took military action in Somalia to prevent kidnappings in Kenya, which were soaring at the time.
Kenyan authorities’ poor response to the siege brought the country’s preparedness under sharp scrutiny, even though four gunmen died during the attack and it has never been proven there were others who escaped.
A writer who was at a bank with her cousins when the attack began said the prison terms are not enough for victims.
“What sentencing would you give somebody who has planned such a thing? I can’t even fathom how you pay back that,” Loi Awat told Reuters. “What is justice for an atrocity?”