The Westgate Mall in Kenya’s capital reopened almost two years after an Islamist-militant raid there killed at least 67 people.
The Nairobi shopping center’s anchor tenant, Nakumatt Holdings, reopened its 80,000 square-foot outlet on Saturday after it was remodeled at a cost of 500 million Kenyan shillings ($4.9 million), according to an e-mailed statement from the retailer. Other local and international companies are expected to follow Nakumatt in opening, it said.
“We are coming back to Westgate Shopping Mall rejuvenated with a fresh contemporary shopping experience,” Atul Shah, the managing director of Nakumatt, said in the statement.
The mall was the scene of a four-day siege between al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants and government security forces in September 2013, which ended with a battle that caused part of three floors of the building to collapse. The Somalia-based militant group has claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed at least 500 people in the last two-and-a-half years in Kenya, undermining the country’s reputation as a stable investment destination.
Tourist arrivals, which generate most of Kenya’s foreign-currency earnings after tea exports, fell 11 percent last year. Al-Shabaab vowed revenge on the country after it deployed soldiers to Somalia in 2011, when it accused the militants of attacking and kidnapping tourists on the Kenyan coast.
Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for attacks including the assault on a college campus in Garissa County, in the North East of Kenya, where 147 people were killed in April.