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22 September 2013 - Media release

INTERPOL condemns Nairobi terror ‘bloodbath’

World police body offers full investigative assistance to Kenya

LYON, France – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has strongly condemned Saturday’s deadly gun assault in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre by suspected al-Shabab militants and pledged INTERPOL’s full support to Kenyan authorities in their investigation.

As of 10:00 GMT on 22 September, Kenyan government officials were reporting that at least 59 people were killed and some 175 wounded in the attack.

“This attack on a shopping centre has left many innocent people dead, it is a bloodbath which will have simply appalled citizens of all nations. On behalf of the international law enforcement community, INTERPOL condemns this murderous and senseless attack and extends its condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims," said Mr Noble.

With Somali militant group al-Shabab reportedly claiming responsibility, Secretary General Noble also highlighted the plight of Somalis in their country at the hands of al-Shabab.

"This deadly incident in Nairobi reminds us all how much harm a handful of heavily-armed, hateful and bloodthirsty terrorists can cause in any country," Mr Noble said.

The Head of INTERPOL pointed to the incident as the sort of terrorist attack recently called for by Al Qaeda's presumed leader, Al Zawahiri.

"The question for every country's law enforcement and security agency is: 'Could this kind of terrorist attack have occurred in our country?’ The answer is a sobering ‘Yes’," said Secretary General Noble.

"If we want to live in an open and free society, then the possibility of such an attack is very real. One of our great challenges remains how not to give up our freedom, nor give in to the fear that such attacks can cause," concluded the INTERPOL Chief.

Following reports of the attacks, INTERPOL’s Command and Coordination Centre (CCC) at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon immediately contacted its National Central Bureau in Nairobi to offer any assistance required.

With Kenyan security forces locked in a standoff with some of the suspected gunmen and hostages reportedly held, all requests for information from Kenyan authorities are being treated with the highest priority by the CCC and INTERPOL's Regional Bureau in Nairobi.

INTERPOL has offered to deploy an Incident Response Team consisting of specialized forensic officers, counter-terrorism experts, operational assistants and analysts.

If requested INTERPOL can issue one of its colour-coded international notices to alert law enforcement around the world about the modus operandi behind the attacks, to obtain additional information about individuals in relation to the investigation, missing persons, or to seek the arrest of those wanted in connection with the incident.

Any fingerprint and DNA evidence can also be compared against INTERPOL's global databases.

Saturday’s deadly terrorist assault in Nairobi follows a number of attacks worldwide in recent years specifically targeting civilians, including Boston (April 2013, three people killed and more than 260 wounded), Mumbai (November 2008, more than 170 people killed and 300 wounded), and London (July 2005, 52 people killed and more than700 wounded).