NEW YORK (AFP) – President Barack Obama spoke to his Kenyan counterpart Monday and promised him “whatever law enforcement support is necessary” in the wake of an attack on Nairobi shoppers.
Obama’s father was Kenyan, but the leader has largely kept his distance from President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been named a suspect in an International Criminal Court probe of Kenyan electoral violence.
Kenya is now, however, reeling from a spectacular attack by Somali militants, who stormed an upscale Nairobi mall on Saturday, gunning down dozens of staff and shoppers and taking hostages.
“We’re providing all the cooperation that we can as we deal with this situation that has captivated the world,” Obama said, arriving in New York for the UN General Assembly.
“I want to express personally my condolences not only to president Kenyatta who lost some family members in the attack, but to the Kenyan people, we stand with them,” he said.
“We will provide them with whatever law enforcement support is necessary and we are confident that Kenya, which has been a pillar of stability in eastern Africa, will rebuild,” he added.
Kenyatta won election in March, despite having formally been named a suspect in the ICC investigation into 2007-2008 political violence that left more than 1,000 dead.
His trial is due to start in November.