Soldiers taking control of what is left of Nairobi’s Westgate Mall have found that al Shabab’s terror attack was more horrifying than previously known. The Daily Mail has the appalling story:
Soldiers told of the horrific torture meted out by terrorists in the Nairobi mall massacre yesterday with claims hostages were dismembered, had their eyes gouged out and were left hanging from hooks in the ceiling.
Men were said to have been castrated and had fingers removed with pliers before being blinded and hanged.
Children were found dead in the food court fridges with knives still embedded in their bodies, it was claimed. …
The horrifying details came yesterday as the first pictures emerged from within the wreckage of the building, showing piles of bodies left strewn across the floor.
Yesterday, soldiers and doctors who were among the first people into the mall after it was reclaimed on Tuesday, spoke of the horrifying scenes inside. “You find people with hooks hanging from the roof,” said one Kenyan doctor, who asked not to be named. “They removed eyes, ears, nose. They get your hand and sharpen it like a pencil then they tell you to write your name with the blood.
“They drive knives inside a child’s body.
“Actually if you look at all the bodies, unless those ones that were escaping, fingers are cut by pliers, the noses are ripped by pliers. Here it was pain.”
A soldier, who took pictures at a bread counter and at the ArtCaffe, said he was so traumatised by what he saw he has had to seek counselling. …
The collapse happened on Monday when government troops launched a massive assault on the mall where up to 150 people are thought to have been killed.
During the firefight, hostages reportedly had their throats slashed from ear to ear and were thrown screaming from third-floor balconies as the siege came to a bloody end. Forensics teams, still sifting through the mountains of rubble, fear many more bodies are yet to be found.
Shell-shocked Kenyan troops said the inside of the Israeli-run mall resembled a “scene from a horror movie” with blood spattered everywhere and dead bodies strewn across the floor.
Reportedly, ten of the terrorists have been captured. It seems odd that subhumans like these, having perpetrated such acts, would allow themselves to be taken alive, but that evidently is the case. Death is, obviously, too kind a fate for them.
But what of root causes? The terrorists reportedly were an international group, with Islam the only common denominator.
What lessons can be learned for the future? I would suggest three. First, al Shabab should be destroyed. It would make sense for an international force to invade Somalia and hunt down all members of that group. Second, with hindsight, Kenyan authorities waited too long to take definitive action to kill the terrorists. They allowed the siege to stretch out over four days. That may have made sense on the assumption that they were dealing with a “normal” hostage situation, but in the future, terrorists should not be allowed to work their evil deeds for so long. Third, far more civilians need to be armed. The Nairobi attack was carried out, authorities say, by only around 15 terrorists. There were hundreds of innocent people in the mall at that time. Unfortunately, hardly any of them were armed. If only 100 of the shoppers had been carrying firearms, the terrorists–notwithstanding their heavier weaponry, including hand grenades–likely could have been stopped, or at least kept at bay until soldiers arrived.
Stephen Hunter wrote a book called Soft Target, in which 12 Somali Muslims launch a terrorist attack against the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. There are chilling similarities between Hunter’s fictional attack and what happened at the Westgate Mall. If Muslim terrorists are shifting their attention toward soft targets like shopping malls, as some observers suggest, we could well see similar attacks here in the U.S. Increased security, such as has been put into effect at the Mall of America, is probably appropriate, but realistically, there are so many possible soft targets that they can’t all be secured. To the extent there is any solution, it rests with armed citizens. If just one-quarter of all adult Americans regularly carried firearms, including long guns like the AR-15, a terrorist attack like the one in Nairobi would be a death trap for the terrorists.
Will that happen here? Not yet. But if an act comparable to the Westgate Mall massacre takes place on American soil, a massive arming of American citizens will be both necessary and inevitable.