Americans' hearts go out to Kenyans at the losses suffered from the horrendous terrorist attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
Witnesses said masked gunmen stormed the shopping center, yelled that Muslims should run away, then shot at men, women, and children. After the four-day siege ended on Tuesday, at least 67 civilians and government troops were dead and 175 were reported injured.
A militant Somali Islamist organization, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility. The group carried out a bombing in 2010 that killed 74 civilians in Uganda’s capital, in what it called revenge for Uganda sending troops to back Somalia’s government against al-Shabab.
Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, warned it would attack Kenya for sending troops to Somalia in 2011. Kenya has more than a half-million Somali refugees. Its population includes a Somali ethnic component estimated at more than 1 million people. Its border with Somalia is largely indefensible, as is the Indian Ocean sea lane between the countries.
Kenya’s foreign minister has alleged, without providing evidence, that two of the attackers were U.S. citizens, possibly of Somali origin. About 100,000 Somalis have immigrated to the United States because of the disorder in Somalia, and some have returned to fight.
Order must be restored quickly in Kenya, and the world must stand united against terrorists who would prey on innocent civilians.