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Kenyan court finds two men guilty over Westgate shopping mall attack

Posted October 7, 2020 10:51 a.m. EDT

— A court in Kenya convicted two men on Wednesday for their involvement in the deadly 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi that left dozens of people dead.

The men were convicted of conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack and possession of an article connected with a terrorism offense, according to a verdict read by Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.

CNN affiliate CitizenTV named the two guilty men as Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan Mustafa.

A third man was acquitted of all charges due to a lack of sufficient evidence supporting the prosecutor's case that he had advance knowledge of the attack while a fourth man was acquitted in January 2019 due to insufficient evidence to prove he falsified his identity.

"The prosecution has proved its case against the accused on charges of conspiracy of committing a terrorism act and supporting a terrorist group," Andayi said as he read the verdict.

At least 67 people were killed in the bloody siege in September 2013 at the upscale mall.

Kenyans and foreigners died in assaults scattered across the mall complex -- it remains the deadliest terror attack in Kenya since the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi.

Survivors told CNN at the time that the gunmen singled out shoppers, asking them if they were Muslim.

Charles Mugo, and his two young daughters found themselves with about 40 other shoppers in the mall parking garage after a trip to the grocery store, when the gunmen stormed in with AK-47 rifles.

Mugo told CNN he came face-to-face with one of the terrorists, a lanky, 6-foot man, wearing a black scarf-like cloth on his head and magazines of ammunition around his waist.

"Just like Rambo does in the movies," Mugo recalled.

Kenyan advocates have said that the trial provided little comfort for the loved ones of victims because it shed scant light on what happened during the attack itself.

The three men put on trial "are not in any way the masterminds. Not even the attackers. It's believed that the attackers escaped, and masterminds are still unknown. These three must have been fringe players, if at all," said Otsieno Namwaya, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

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