Gun battle inside Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre


Gunmen have opened fire inside a shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Armed police are exchanging fire with gunmen at the Westgate centre in the Westlands district – one of the city’s most exclusive shopping malls.

Nairobi police chief Benson Kibue told AP news agency that the gunmen were trying to rob a shop within the mall when the shootout began.

Panicked shoppers fled the building. At least two people are wounded.

The Reuters news agency reports one witness as saying they have seen five bodies.

Dutch embassy employee Rob Vandijk told AP that he had been eating at a restaurant in the centre when gunmen threw hand grenades inside the building.

He said machine-gun fire then rang out, and people dropped to the ground.

Armed police took cover behind vehicles outside. “We have officers at the scene trying to get out the group shooting inside,” a police official told AFP news agency.

“Officers are approaching the situation with caution because there are innocent civilians inside,” he said.

The Westgate centre is often frequented by wealthy Kenyans and expatriates. Police urged residents to stay away from the area.