Kenya’s government has given the first sign that Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall may one day reopen for business despite being partially destroyed the attack by Islamist gunmen in September last year.
At least 67 people died in the massacre and siege of the upmarket complex, and the rear of the four-story building collapsed following a huge blaze that was sparked by fierce fighting between the militants and security forces.
Sources close to the ongoing forensic investigation say that it will take at least another month to clear the rubble. The Kenyan Red Cross has said 39 people are still listed as missing, and there are fears more bodies could be found in the wreckage.
In a meeting with shop owners on Oct. 9 last year, however, Kenya’s Commerce Minister Phyllis Kandie said she wanted to see Westgate resume business and promised government help.
“The Government of Kenya is sincerely committed to ensuring that Westgate Mall operations do resume within the shortest time possible through a public-private partnership model,” she said.
“Through this partnership, we shall be further seeking to ensure the overall national economic resilience following the tragic events by reducing levels of business collapse, investor apathy and job losses,” the minister added.