Al-Shabab Terrorists Behind Kenyan Mall Attack May Have Escaped Through An Underground Tunnel

Although Kenyan authorities claimed that they were able to kill five terrorists in the al-Shabab mall attack, new reports have emerged that the militants may have escaped the mall through an underground tunnel. After several days of sifting through rubble looking for survivors, detectives at the scene have not found any bodies belonging to al-Shabab.

"They escaped like sewer rats," a source close to the investigation told the Daily Mirror. "The terrorists would have been able to pass through the underground tunnels at a rapid pace and surface almost unnoticed."

The half-mile long tunnel, is part of a sewage system that runs from the Westgate Mall to the nearby Nakummat Ukay Mall. It is believed that investigators didn't discover the tunnel until three days after the attack. Theoretically, the militants could have set off explosives inside the mall as amany of them escaped through the tunnel leaving a smaller group to carry out the rest of the assault.

Also discovered amongst the wreckage was an SUV containing a cache of weapons, explosives, SIM cards, and shreds of paper believed to be either a blueprint of the building or plans for the operation. The SUV was doused with gasoline, but was never lit and therefore never exploded as was allegedly planned. The explosion would have killed scores more.

Adding insult to injury is a report from the Wall Street Journal claiming that Kenyan authorities knew an attack on the mall was being planned as early as last September. The leaked documents state that al-Shabab was inspired by the 2008 attacks on hotels, a train station, and a Jewish center in Mumbai perpetrated by Pakistani militants, which left 160 people dead. It also warned of an attack "in Nairobi between Sept. 13 and 21, 2013."

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Frank Lopapa

Graduate of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, specializing in International Security and Global Negotiation and Conflict Management. Guest contributor to international affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier. When not writing about security issues for Policy Mic, I cover Italian soccer for Forza Italian Football, among other places.

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