Transcript: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s remarks on the Westgate Mall terrorist attack – Sept. 24, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on the terrorist attack in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The address was televised on NTV Kenya on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013:

…I report with great sadness, that 61 civilians lost their lives in the attack. 6 security officers also made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the criminals.

Forensic teams are still at the scene of the tragedy and will put together a final report.

Towards the tail end of the operation, three floors of the Westgate Mall collapsed and there are several bodies still trapped in the rubble, including the terrorists.

Starting tomorrow, I have instructed the Interior Ministry to keep Kenyans informed of the progress of the forensic investigations.

Of the injured, 62 were operated on and remain hospitalized. Many others suffered non-physical trauma and shock and are receiving counseling at various facilities throughout the city of Nairobi.

It has not been an easy time for any of us, least of all the affected. Our losses are immense.

To the honor and memory of those who lost their lives in this attack, I have declared three days of national mourning starting tomorrow during which official flags will fly at half-mast throughout the country.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I have vowed earlier, we have ashamed and defeated our attackers. That part of our task has been completed by our multi-agency security team.

5 terrorists were killed with gunfire. 11 suspects are in custody in connection with the attack.

Intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and 2 or 3 American citizens may have been involved in the attack. We cannot confirm the details at present but forensic experts are working to ascertain the nationalities of the terrorists.

I promise that we shall have a full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone as a national family. These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons wherever they are.

Fellow Kenyans, friends of Kenya, our solidarity, patience, and resolve has seen us through the worst of this crisis. It is to you that I turn for strength, love, and aid to those affected by this encounter with the forces of evil.

You came out in ways that exceeded the wildest expectations. You have been generous, compassionate, and patriotic.

I am deeply moved and very proud to be your President.

To the survivors of that terrible ordeal, the entire nation has waited anxiously for your safe deliverance and we’re all relieved to see.

Fellow Kenyans, the response of the people throughout the country has been nothing short of wonderful. I’ve always known that our country is a splendid nation of fine, patriotic citizens. The unity, selflessness, and empathy shown to the affected over the last three days has been touching and exemplary.

We could not, in all fairness, ask more of you and yet the volition of your nobility continues to amaze. Without a task force, organizing committee, or chain of command, you have risen up as one and stood firmly with your country, your brothers and sisters.

You have raised more than $60 million shillings through mobile money to help the affected. You’ve also donated food, clothing, and other supplies not only for the afflicted but also to keep the volunteers going. You have gifted fellow Kenyans and our visitors blood without pausing to consider whether they were Giriama, Dasanach, Turkana, Kuria or Embu, West African, Pakistani, British or German.

Your response to appeals for blood donations has been literally overwhelming. There is evidently no limit to your patriotic sacrifice.

I am humbled and encouraged, and thank you all for your patience and understanding in the anxious moments when we waited for this nightmare to end.

My brothers and sisters, I thank the doctors, nurses, counselors, and other volunteers who thought nothing of their comforts and personal engagements when called upon to be their brother’s keepers. We have all been touched by your selflessness.

I appreciate the excellent work of our security forces. The dedication and professionalism of the valiant officers in containing a delicate and dangerous situation has made Kenyans proud. You continue to exemplify our national values in action.

No one among us take for granted the fact that every time you accost evildoers, you put your life on the line for our sake. For this reason, I stand here to pay a special tribute to our security forces.

I salute national leaders of every stripe who stood together to reassure the nation that deep inside, where it counts most, we are one, indivisible national family. For sharing the nation’s pain and anxiety and reaffirming the core principles of leadership, you have encouraged the nation. Let no one amongst us ever be blamed for dividing the people of Kenya.

Friends of Kenya, terrorism is a global problem that requires global solutions.

Kenya will stand with our friends in tackling terrorism and I ask our friends to stand with us.

Our many friends throughout the world came through with moral support and offers of various forms of assistance.

This solidarity has encouraged us immensely, and we will never forget your brotherly concern for our well-being.

My brothers President Yoweri Museveni of Uganada, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Salva Klir of Southern Sudan and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi have called on a very regular basis to encourage us.

Our African and global partners, including Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and Hailemariam Desalegne, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, as well as United States President Barack Obama, the Prime Ministers of Israel and Britain have also expressed their sympathies and best wishes amongst many many others who have called and sent their sympathies and condolences.

The people of Kenya thank you.

The operation to contain terrorists, pacify and stabilize our region and continent continues, and there will be opportunity to consult and cooperate in the future.

My people, our friends, the majority of the people who lost their lives to the terrorist attack were innocent, harmless civilians. They were people of various nationalities, races, ethnic, cultural, religious and other walks of life. They were in Kenya – in Nairobi – because the people of Kenya welcomed them warmly and freely.

As one family, the people of Kenya continue to mourn them. We must never forget them. Just like their lives, their memory will remain precious in our hearts.

Let us always remember that they were compelled by the mindless actions of evil, cowardly terrorists to make the unnecessarily yet ultimate sacrifice.

We will stand by each other, and we must stand by the families of the fallen. My government will assist the families to cope with their grief and loss.

We pray that God, our Creator, will comfort them with divine hope and assurance and give them the strength to face the coming days.

I ask all of you, brothers and sisters, to remember them by staying united, tolerant, caring, generous and loyal to one another and to our nation.

There are many people who have suffered painful bodily injury, and those who suffer afflictions invisible to the eye. We pray for your quick and full recovery.

Fellow Kenyans, we have been badly hurt and feel great pain and loss. But we have been brave, united, and strong. Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed.

We have prevailed just by being who we typically are and have been from the time of our forefathers.

In caring and giving, in loving and uniting, in never tiring and not hesitating, in resolutely look forward and never turning back, we have defeated our enemies and shown the whole world what our values can accomplish.

As we put this tragic period behind us, let us stay true to who we are.

Our attackers wished to destroy the essential character of our society. They failed. Kenya endured. Kenya endures.

With our openness and inclusivity, we shall confront and overcome the challenges facing us as a nation. We shall rise as one, defend and build this nation together. In one accord we have triumphed. In one accord we shall prosper.

The incident which we now put behind was certainly not welcome. Yet it has strengthened us and renewed our resolve to live as one strong, open, stable, democratic and prosperous republic, where people of all races, cultures, and faiths pursue happiness together.

We must live as a diverse, tolerant society with neither bias nor barriers to all people of goodwill.

Our openness, enterprise and generosity have brought us through adversity to where we are and will impel us to achieve our collective and individual dreams.

Amid the horror and confusion of the past few days, you have found it in yourselves to be incredibly strong and generous. You have held each other’s hand and extended this love to our visitors.

Your resilience and compassion have saved many lives and brought hope and comfort to countless families.

I have drawn strength and inspiration from your wonderful example. My resolve to ensure that my government delivers to you is strengthened even more by the certainty that I lead a nation of fine folks who deserve our very best.

Let us work in unity, in the spirit with which we defeated the monster of terrorism, to heal the wounds inflicted on us, and to confront the obstacles in our way to prosperity. We must put development and happiness within our reach. We will ensure that Kenya always retains it honor among nations.

The Glory of Kenya is the fruit of our collective labor. That is what our founding fathers inscribed in our national anthem.

Because of what we have done, we have not been shaken.

As long as Kenya remains our home, we are indomitable. I urge you to remain calm and vigilant. Our country is safe.

God bless you all, and God bless Kenya.

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