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Hostage situation in Kenya enters fourth day

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Hostage situation in Kenya enters fourth day

By Craig Smith. CREATED Sep 23, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep 24, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - An official tells The Associated Press that Nairobi's city morgue is preparing for the arrival of a large number of bodies of people killed in the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Kenya.
   
The government official says morgue employees were told to prepare for many bodies. Morgue employees were dressed in smocks early Tuesday, though no bodies had been delivered. The official death toll from the mall attack stood at 62. Most of those bodies were already taken to the morgue, either directly or from hospitals.
   
A city resident whose brother is taking part in the military operation inside the mall told AP that there were many dead bodies still in the mall.
   
Both the government official and the Nairobi resident insisted their names not be used so they would not face retribution from government officials.

The U.S. State Department is investigating whether some of the attackers are from the United States.

There is a possible Tucson connection to the terror in Kenya.  A Twitter site that claimed to be connected to the attackers says a man from Tucson is among the gunmen.
     
The FBI is not ready to say the man named "Shafie D" even exists.  But a Twitter feed that claims to be from the Al Shabab terrorist group says he is among the attackers.
       
The internet helps terror groups recruit and grow. A U of A program is a world leader in learning what terrorists do in the dark corners of the web.
While the world saw more death and terror in the Nairobi mall, a Twitter feed that claimed to be connected to Al Shabab was crowing about how the attack was to punish Kenya for sending it's military to Somalia, to help the Somali government in a terrible civil war there.
        
One message says in part, remove all your forces from our country.
        
At the U of A's Eller College of Business, Dr. Hsunchin Chen has made it his business to track terror groups through what he calls the Dark Web Project.

The main goal of Dr. Chen's trek through the Dark Web is not to investigate incidents like the mall attack. It's more to understand and counteract ways the groups build anger to recruit new terrorists.

"You can analyze them to create a counter intelligence or psychological campaign to defuse the anger and defuse the conflict."
       
As Doctor Chen's program scans the web it does monitor groups in Somalia.
        
And here in Tucson, Somalians who came here to get away from the war, watch the long standing conflict spill in Somalia spill into a mall in Kenya. 

"It's about 15 hundred individuals." Abdi Abdi says of the Tucson Somalian community.
    
Now, Mister Abdi Abdi runs a refugee assistance group called Horizons for Refugee Families, but he remembers living in a refugee camp in Kenya when he escaped the civil war twenty years ago. 
    
He has no idea who "Shafie D" is but it's chilling to think there's a chance one of the attackers is from Tucson which has been so welcoming to Somalis.

Thinking of a terrorist, he says, "That's not what the community is. For us, that's not what the community, is not known for the Somali community or the refugee community."
     
For about seven years now, Mister Abdi's group, has been helping refugees, settle, go to school and find jobs in Tucson.
      
Many of the Somalis are like him.  They lived in Kenya on their way away from all the death and troubles in Somalia.
 

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press