NAIROBI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated on Friday the country will not be cowed by acts of terrorism, saying the recent Westgate attack by Al-Qaida allied militants will not dampen the spirit of Kenyans.
Kenyatta described the terrorists as cowards and mindless criminals who have failed in their evil mission of instilling fear among Kenyans and the nation.
"The unfortunate incident by the cowards brought us closer as Kenyans and strengthened our resolve to fight terrorism more aggressively," he said during a funeral service of his nephew and his nephew's fiancee in Nairobi.
He praised Kenyans for standing together and refusing to be intimidated by perpetrators of the Westgate Mall terror attack.
Kenyatta's remarks come as, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said the police are holding eight suspects as they move to unmask the faces behind the Westgate terror attack
Lenku said out of the 11 suspects arrested, three were interrogated and released. "This being a terrorism activity, we are operating under the Anti-Terrorism Act which allows for suspects to be held for longer periods before being arraigned in Court," he said.
In view of the security situation, the Cabinet Secretary said the level of Interpol alertness has been raised in respect to known global terrorists including the British woman Samantha Lewthwaite.
He said the death toll from the Westgate terror attack still stands at 67, comprising 61 civilians and six security officers, adding that no bodies have been recovered from the rubble so far.
Lenku said five suspected terrorists were killed during the operation and the ongoing forensic investigations will ascertain their identities. "When complete, these investigations will answer the questions being raised about their nationalities and gender," he said.
Speaking during the funeral service, Kenyatta said the family was not only mourning but also celebrating people whose lives were filled with hope and promise of a bright future. "These mindless criminals who sought to intimidate and instill fear in the lives of a free society and people, failed miserably to deter our spirits," he said. The two were among the people who died during the Westgate terror attack last Saturday.
He observed that the large number of Kenyans who came out to assist victims of the terror attack was a testimony of the country's patriotism.
He added that by standing together throughout the difficult period, Kenyans proved to the world that they are determined not to be divided on racial, tribal or religious grounds.
Meanwhile, Lenku said the general state of security in the country has been beefed up especially at border points and the incidents in Northern Kenya have been attended to. He cautioned people to keep off the Westgate Mall, saying it remains a scene of crime.
"It is however important to point out that normalcy is returning and some sections of Peponi Road have been opened. Apart from the Mall, business can continue in other adjacent buildings. These include Nakumatt at Ukay Centre and Peponi Plaza," he said.
Security has also been heightened at Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya where Somali militants attacked a compound belongs to aid organization to ensure safety of aid workers at the camp.
Area District Commissioner Albert Kimathi said security officers deployed into the areas were on high alert and working round the clock to protect camp and the aid workers following report of a planned attack.
"The security arm of the government was doing everything possible to make sure that the area is safe for the UN workers and the non-governmental organizations operating in the region," Kimathi told Xinhua on Friday.
He said the police have also embarked on screening services and getting records of those visiting the regions in an effort to minimize risks following the recent attacks.
"We are inspecting all vehicles coming into the camps and those leaving the areas to ensure that they don't ferry suspects, "Kimathi said.
Staffs working for the UN and other international aid agencies at the world's largest refugee camp said hundreds of army trucks started arriving in the area on Tuesday.
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