NAIROBI - Kenya's president on Saturday offered his "heartfelt thanks" to the United States for killing the leader of Somalia's Shebab militants, responsible for the massacre at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall a year ago.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that the death of Ahmed Abdi Godane in a US air strike "provides a small measure of closure" for victims of the siege, which left at least 67 dead and scores of others wounded.
"A year ago this month, armed terrorists entered the Westgate mall and committed some of the most savage crimes ever perpetrated on Kenyan soil," Kenyatta said.
"Godane... led the planning, and was responsible for the perpetration of the attack on Westgate. His death is a stark reminder that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword," he added.
"We owe the United States, and its soldiers, our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane's career of death and destruction; and finally allowing us to begin our healing process," he said, vowing to "stand in solidarity with the victims of the Westgate attack, for whom Godane's death provides a small measure of closure."
On Friday the Pentagon confirmed that Godane, the leader of Al-Qaeda's main affiliate in Africa, perished in an attack on Monday in which US drones and manned aircraft rained Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs on a gathering of Shebab commanders.