Nairobi - Four police officers who risked their lives to
save victims of the Westgate mall siege in Nairobi will receive special
recognition and promotions, a spokesperson for Kenya's police chief said on Wednesday.
"It is just one way of boosting their morale and that
of their colleagues," Masoud Mwinyi, spokesperson for police chief David
"The Inspector General is proud of them, and as a
department we are happy with what they did," he said.
The four officers are Stephen Lelei, a local police chief
who sustained a gunshot wound to his leg while fighting off the attackers,
Mwinyi's driver Tawfiq Baya, Benjamin Chemjor and Aden Iya.
At a ceremony in their honour, Chemjor recalled their
intervention in the first hours of the four-day siege by Somali Shabaab
"Most of the victims were raising their hands while
asking for help, we tried the best we could to save lives," he said.
"Some of them were innocent children who were brave
enough to run to us even though we were armed, and we carried them away to
safety outside," Chemjor added.
"I came face-to-face with them [the attackers], and
that is when I sustained a gunshot wound, but we did our best to save
victims," Lelei said.
The four will be promoted and will receive a medal from
The death toll for the attack, which began on 21 September,
stands at 67, with at least 200 wounded.
Several more bodies have since been retrieved but it remains
unclear if they have already been included in the death toll released by
Kenyan security forces have come in for sharp criticism over
their handling of the siege, including allegations of disorganisation and a
failure to stop looting once the attack was over.
Authorities have promised an investigation into the reports.