At least 15 dead in Nairobi shooting

Gunmen have attacked a Nairobi shopping centre reportedly killing 15 and wounding several others.

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 - At least 15 people have reportedly been killed during an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, according to the Kenya Red Cross.

"I would say so far we have at least 15 dead. The casualties are many, and that's only what we have on the outside," said Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Guled.

It had earlier been reported that at least five people were killed.

The shooting is reportedly still going on and more casualties are thought to be inside the complex.

"Inside there are even more casualties and shooting is still going on."

Witnesses said they saw about five armed assailants storm the Westgate Shopping Mall and that the incident appeared to be an attack rather than an armed robbery.

Police helicopters circled overhead as armed police shouted "get out, get out", and scores of shoppers fled the building. Smoke poured out of one entrance and witnesses said they heard grenade blasts.

The Somali militant group al-Shabaab has previously threatened to strike the mall which is popular with the city's expatriate community. It would have been packed on a Saturday morning.

"They don't seem like thugs, this is not a robbery incident," said Yukeh Mannasseh who was on the mall's top floor when the shooting started. "It seems like an attack. The guards who saw them said they were shooting indiscriminately."

One eyewitness who identified himself as Taha said he heard the screech of brakes followed moments later by an explosion and then sustained gun fire from the ground floor.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.