SA, Kenyan officials in touch after mall attack

South African officials were in touch with Kenyan authorities following an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, where almost 70 people, including a South African, were killed.

“Our officials are on the ground and are in touch with local authorities. South Africans in the area should contact the South African mission on the ground if they require assistance,” international relations and cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said today.

Monyela said in a statement yesterday a South African had died during a shoot-out at the mall in Kenya.

“The South African government condemns the terrorist attack in Kenya in which a number of civilians, including a South African national were killed,” he said.

Joburg daily, The Star, identified him today as 57-year-old Capetonian businessman James Thomas.

Thomas was in Kenya for business when gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Dave Meldrum, a pastor from Mowbray, told the daily that Thomas had been shot in the attack.

He went to the mall on Saturday afternoon with colleagues.

“They had just come out of a supermarket when James wandered off from the group. When the attack happened, he had been separated from his colleagues.”

The family was notified of his death just after noon yesterday. He had been shot once.

Thomas was in Kenya for work he did for EcoVentures International as a field associate. He was also the chairman of the Cape Town Pro Cantu Youth Choir.

AFP reported today that around a dozen assailants were involved in the attack, with at least 68 people killed.

The al-Qaeda-linked Somali al-Shabaab rebels, believed to be responsible for the attack, were still holding hostages inside the mall this morning, according to AFP.

The Associated Press reported that more than 175 people were also injured in the attack.

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