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Poet Kofi Awoonor among 59 killed in Kenya mall attack

The Ghanaian government confirmed Awoonor’s death yesterday morning. He was aged 78. Awoonor was in Nairobi to speak at the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day…

The Ghanaian government confirmed Awoonor’s death yesterday morning. He was aged 78. Awoonor was in Nairobi to speak at the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day celebration of writing, thinking and storytelling. Reports say he was due to perform on Saturday evening as part of a showcase of award-winning poetry from Africa.  An officer at the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi told Daily Trust that as at yesterday evening, no Nigerian had yet been identified among the dead, but that they were still monitoring the “extremely tense and very scary” developments.  The US State Department also said four American citizens were reported injured. Terrorists from the Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack which the group said was in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia. About 4,000 Kenyan soldiers  have been participating in a peacekeeping mission in South Somalia since 2011. The terrorists used guns and grenades to slaughter 59 and injure more than 175, according to Kenyan Interior Minister Joe Lenku. Many of the injured were taken to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where a fire broke out yesterday morning, according to reports. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta in a speech vowed to hunt down and punish the terrorists, urging Kenyans to ‘remain calm and vigilant’ and asking them to donate blood to help treat the injured.
“We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime”, he said. The shopping centre was considered a prime target partly because it is frequented by many different nationalities.