Kenya’s Westgate Mall Reopens Two Years After Militant Attack

The New Westgate Mall
The Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi reopens, on July 18, almost two years after the massacre of 67 shoppers. Photographer: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

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.

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