Chinese woman among dead in Kenya

Updated: 2013-09-23 00:56

By Liu Zhen and agencies in Nairobi (China Daily)

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At least 59 have been killed as dozens of hostages still in hands of gunmen

A Chinese woman was killed as gunmen stormed an upscale shopping mall in Kenya's capital on Saturday.

The 38-year-old unidentified woman was one of 59 confirmed dead in Nairobi's Westgate Mall in the bloodiest attack in the country since 1998. The death toll may climb as soldiers on Sunday were still fighting the heavily armed militants, who are believed to have at least 30 hostages.

Chinese woman among dead in Kenya

Police help a girl out of Westgate Mall, where gunmen killed at least 59 people, in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday. Soldiers continued to fight the militants by press time.[Siegfried Modola / Reuters]

The Chinese woman's child was injured in the terrorist attack, Wu Shifan, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, told China Daily.

The boy is in a local hospital and his condition is stable, Wu said, without giving more details.

The embassy has warned Chinese people to avoid visiting popular places in Kenya. There are about 20,000 Chinese in the country, the Kenya Overseas Chinese Association estimated. They mostly work in industries such as infrastructure, retail, catering and tourism.

Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said on Sunday that the government believed there were 10 to 15 attackers, saying they were investigating their identities, but without giving details.

"We are doing everything reasonably possible to make sure that the hostages who are still in the building come out safely," he said.

Al-Shabaab, a militant Somali group that has declared allegiance to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack.

Security forces had been able to "isolate" the attackers, the minister said.

He said 175 people had been taken to hospital and that more than 1,000 had been evacuated from the shopping mall.

France said two of its citizens were killed, and Canada said two Canadians died, including a 29-year-old diplomat.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said several US citizens had been hurt and the wife of a US diplomat working for the US Agency for International Development was killed.

Two diplomats — one from Canada and the other from Ghana — were killed.

The assault was the biggest single attack in Kenya since al-Qaida's East Africa cell bombed the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, killing more than 200 people.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, facing his first major security challenge since his election in March, said his nephew and his fiancee were among the dead.

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