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Kenya Marks One Year Since Deadly Westgate Mall Attack

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Kenya marks one year since four al-Shabab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping center in the country’s capital of Nairobi, BBC reports.

MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - Kenya marks one year since four al-Shabab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping center in the country’s capital of Nairobi, BBC reports.

Interfaith prayers and a wreath laying ceremony were held in the Karura forest, where 67 trees were planted last year following the tragedy. A memorial plaque listing names of the victims has also been unveiled, with approximately 2,500 people attending, according to AFP. Later in the day, a candlelight vigil is expected to be held at the National Museum which houses a memorial exhibition.

“My life is completely shattered, it’s been very hard to cope,” Amul Shah, whose son was killed in Westgate, told AFP. “He helped several children escape from the attack, but he was not lucky himself. He was so selfless.”

On September 21, 2013 Islamists launched an attack on the upscale shopping center, claiming it was in retribution for Kenya sending troops to fight al-Shabab in Somalia in 2011. The siege lasted four days and left 67 people dead, the gunmen allegedly among them. Large parts of the building collapsed during the siege.

Kenyan authorities arrested dozens in relation to the attack. Four natives of Somalia were later charged in connection to the Westgate massacre and are currently in prison.

Nairobi police have been put on high alert amid fears of renewed al-Shabab attacks that have plagued the country for the past year. “We are prepared in case of anything. Specialised units are on the ground and we have intensified patrols during this period of the anniversary,” said David Kimaiyo, police chief, as quoted by BBC.

Some say militants could launch an attack in retaliation for the killing of their late leader. Earlier this month, Ahmed Abdi Godane, the alleged mastermind of the Westgate attack, was killed in a US airstrike.

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