NAIROBI, Kenya — Islamic militants who staged a deadly attack on a Kenya mall said today hostages are alive and their fighters are “still holding their ground,” contradicting Kenyan officials’ claims that they are in a final push.
Explosions rang from the Westgate mall in the morning and at midday, and gunfire could also be heard, despite the Kenyan government assurances of success. Fresh smoke was seen rising from the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
The al-Qaida-linked attackers gave a conflicting account of the mall conflict, using social media.
“There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the mujahedeen are still holding their ground,” said the Somali rebel group al-Shabab in a Twitter message considered to be genuine.
It added that the hostages are “still alive looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive.”
As the crisis continued, Nairobi’s city morgue braced for the arrival of a large number of bodies of people killed, an official said.
Earlier, the Kenyan Red Cross confirmed at least 62 people had been killed, but spokesman Abbas Gullet said it was still not known how many more may be dead inside the building.
“It is certainly known that there are more casualties,” he said.
On the fourth day of fighting at the mall, three Kenyan soldiers died and eight others were receiving treatment, the Kenyan Interior Ministry said Tuesday.