Kenyans Mark 1 Year Since Al-Shabab's Westgate Mall Attack

A year after Al-Shabab gunmen killed more than 60 people in the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Nairobi, the group remains at large.

Kenyans Mark 1 Year Since Al-Shabab's Westgate Mall Attack
Getty Images / Uriel Sinai

Sunday marks a year since armed militants attacked an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing close to 70 people.

At least four Al-Shabab gunmen carried out the attack, which injured more than 170, and were able to hold the mall for three days, in part due to the fractured effort from Kenyan authorities to take it back. (Video via ITN)

Al-Shabab is based in Somalia, where its fight against Somali Armed Forces has often bled over into Kenya — whose government has helped the Somali government in the past. (Video via Channel 4)

The U.S. has been involved in the fight against Al-Shabab with airstrikes, one of which recently killed the group's leader Ahmed Godane. But Godane's death doesn't appear to have slowed the group's activities. 

Days after his death, the Al-Shabab had already announced a new leader and, just a week ago 19 Al-Shabab militants were arrested in Uganda for an alleged bomb plot. 

Earlier this summer the group claimed responsibility for another high-profile attack in Kenya, when gunmen raided the coastal town of Mpeketoni twice, killing more than 60 people. (Video via K24TV)

Kenyan officials, however, denied the attack was carried out by Al-Shabab, instead placing the blame on local political and ethnic tensions. (Video via CCTV)

In the aftermath, one thing the two attacks indisputably had in common was criticism of security forces for being delayed and ineffective.

CATHERINE SOI, AL JAZEERA: "Different security forces involved in the operation seemed uncoordinated and there appeared to be a fallout between police and military. Analysts say that in this era of terrorism security forces cannot afford to slip-up."

Compounding distrust of the authorities, the Kenyan military later admitted some of its forces who responded to the attack looted the abandoned stores in the aftermath of the shootings. (Video via Sky News)

In fact, the BBC reports many in Kenya have turned to private security forces with some 300,000 private security officers in the country — around four times the size of the police force. 

Mourners in Kenya marked the anniversary of the attack with a candle-light vigil and a memorial plaque.