Westgate Anniversary: Police Reveal Changes, Lessons Since 2013

  • A picture of the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi
    A picture of the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi
    Citizen Digital
  • The National Police Service (NPS) has revealed reforms that have been undertaken in the fight against terrorism since the 2013 Westgate Mall attack. 

    While marking the eighth anniversary on Tuesday, September 21, the police service remembered victims of the attack adding that the incident shifted the service's approach to acts of terror.

    “It has been a period of reflection and strengthening our capacity as a service. We sympathize with the families that lost their loved ones. It is this painful loss that pushes us to stretch our limits in protecting Kenyans and their properties,” the police stated.

    Police at a pass-out parade in November 2019.
    Police at a pass-out parade in November 2019.

    In the statement, the police service further detailed programs that it has undertaken to avoid the recurrence of terror attacks.

    “Over the past eight years, the service has employed over 40,000 new police officers, this has improved our numbers immensely.”

    In addition to the recruitment of officers, the agency stated that the government has invested in the use of technology to monitor activities in various towns across the country.

    “Further, the service installed reliable surveillance systems in major towns and cities and procured modern security equipment,” read the statement in part.

    The service also revealed that the government carried out additional training among its special teams to equip the officers with relevant skills.

    “We have also improved individual capacities of police officers and stakeholders by training police reservists, enhanced training to special units, provision of ordinary police vehicles and specialized carriers.”

    The service further recognized milestones that government programs have achieved in the fight against violent extremism, citing the Nyumba Kumi initiative.

    “Our investment in community policing and Nyumba Kumi initiative has also enhanced cooperation between the police and the public,” added NPS.

    The service also revealed that it had adopted a multi-agency approach in the handling of intelligence and operations relating to violent extremism.

    “Unlike in the past, multi-agency cooperation within the security apparatuses improved. This coupled with an efficient command structure and intelligence-led approaches, have greatly enhanced our operational readiness.”

    On September 21, 2013, four gunmen opened fire at shoppers at the Westgate Shopping Mall. In the attack, at least 67 people lost their lives.

    A file image of police officers hoping into an Armoured vehicle
    Police officers hope into an armoured vehicle
    terrorism gun fire fight