Kenyan court sentences two men to eighteen years imprisonment over 2013 Westgate mall attack

Hussein Hassan and Mohamed Ahmed, suspects charged with helping al Qaeda-linked militants to launch an attack on the Westgate mall, leave the dock before being sentenced, at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, Kenya.

A court in Kenya sentenced two men on Friday to 18 years in prison for helping al Shabaab gunmen in a 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall that killed 67 people.

Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa were sentenced for 18 years apiece on each of two charges, to be served concurrently. Abdi was given an additional 15-year jail sentence for possession of materials promoting terrorism.

“This court has to pass a sentence … commensurate with the offence,” Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi told the two as they stood in a Nairobi courtroom. He said the seven years the men spent on remand would be deducted from their sentences.

The attack on the upscale mall, a favourite of Kenya’s growing middle class and foreign workers, happened two years after the East African nation sent troops into Somalia following a series of kidnappings and raids on Kenyan soil.

A third defendant, Liban Abdullah Omar, was acquitted in the trial, which concluded on October 7. He was abducted by a group of gunmen a day later after being released from custody and his whereabouts is still unknown.

The three defendants — all ethnic Somalis, two of whom are Kenyan citizens — were accused of assisting the attackers.

Kenyan authorities’ disorganised response to the Westgate attack deeply damaged the country’s reputation.

Soldiers and police fired at each other during a chaotic four days and footage emerged of soldiers looting the complex as bodies lay sprawled on the bloodstained floors.

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