Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has spoken to the nation to announce three days of mourning, and that the Westgate hostage crisis is over.
His announcement followed another day of confusion, contradiction, and waiting outside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi as Kenyan security forces moved in.
“Our confrontation with the terrorists at the Westgate mall left 240 casualties. I report with great sadness that 61 civilians lost their lives in the attack. Six security officers also made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat the criminals. Three floors of the Westgate mall collapsed, and there are several bodies still trapped in the rubble, including the terrorists,” he announced on TV.
Eleven arrests have been made, and interrogation has already begun. An FBI team is due to arrive shortly from the USA to assist.
Tuesday morning saw soldiers sweeping the building room by room, floor by floor, using explosive charges to open locked doors, and defusing a number of explosive devices that had been left by the al-Shabaab militants.
By mid-afternoon the Kenyan authorities had allowed traffic back into the nearby streets and they were calling on car owners to retrieve their vehicles from the supermarket car park inside Westgate.
The first victims have been prepared for burial; African victims of an ideological war in which they are caught in the middle, the second time the Kenyan capital has been targeted by Islamic extremists since the US embassy was bombed in 1998.
President Kenyatta was unable to confirm intelligence reports that the attackers included foreign nationals. 51 people are still missing, and Kenyan soliders said the floors of Westgate were covered in blood with bodies scattered all around.
The Kenyan interior minister has also revealed that the operation was clearly planned well in advance, as it appears al-Shabaab rented a shop in Westgate, allowing it to discreetly build up supplies for this operation.