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British national arrested in Nairobi

A British national of Somali origin was reportedly arrested as he attempted to leave Kenya.

A Kenyan woman is helped to safety after masked gunmen stormed an upmarket mall and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff in Nairobi on 21 September 2013. Picture: AFP

NAIROBI- A British national has been arrested in Nairobi following the siege on Westgate Shopping Mall that killed at least 67 people, the Foreign Office in London said on Wednesday.

A group of al-Shabaab militants stormed the upscale mall at lunchtime on Saturday and began shooting civilians indiscriminately.

The death toll now stands at 67, but officials say as many as 60 people are still missing.

Five terrorists were also shot dead during the siege.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a 35-year-old Briton of Somali origin was arrested at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta airport as he attempted to leave Kenya on a Turkish Airlines flight.

A Foreign Office spokesperson declined to comment on the report, saying only that British authorities were aware of the arrest of the Brit in the Kenyan capital and stood ready to provide consular assistance.

The newspaper said the man had attracted attention at the airport because he had bruising to his face, was wearing dark glasses and was behaving suspiciously.

The newspaper quoted Kenyan officials as saying the man's British passport appeared to be genuine and it contained a Kenyan visa, although there was no stamp indicating when and how he had entered the country.

The report also stated that the suspect said under questioning that his facial injuries happened during a recent visit to Somalia.

Kenya begins three days of national mourning today for the victims killed during the attack.

SA WOMAN STILL MISSING

The South African High Commission in Kenya has called on all South Africans to register with the South African embassy following the terror attack.

South African High Commissioner to Kenya Ratubatsi Moloi says a South African woman who was in the mall at the time of the attack is still missing.

He says embassy staff are doing everything they can to find the missing woman.

“We have been given a name of a lady that has been missing since this incident took place.”

Moloi says embassy staff are also checking if any of the unidentified bodies could be those of South Africans.

He urges South Africans in Kenya to remain vigilant.

“I would really appreciate if South Africans in Kenya register with us so that in the case of an emergency, we can get in touch with them as quickly as possible.”

Cape Town businessman James Thomas was among the victims killed during the attack. 

Moloi sent condolences to Thomas’s family and slammed the terror attack, calling it an “unforgivable act”.

ATTACKERS WILL PAY

In a televised address on Tuesday, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta declared final victory over the al-Shabaab gunmen.

He also said the attackers would pay for their actions. 

“I promise that we shall have a full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone as a national family. These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons wherever they are.”

Kenyatta said three floors in a part of the mall had collapsed near the end of the operation, leaving an unknown number of bodies under steel and concrete.

It’s unclear what caused the structure to collapse.

(Edited by Gia Kaplan)

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