Though it can neither be confirmed nor denied, al-Shabab claims that the Kenyan government assault team carried out a demolition of the building which buried 137 hostages in the rubble.
But a government spokesperson is denying that claim, saying Kenyan forces cleaned all rooms and encountered no one.
That’s not the only shocking allegation from al-Shabab, however.
In a series of tweets from a Twitter account believed to be genuine, al-Shabab also said that “having failed to defeat the mujahideen inside the mall, the Kenyan govt disseminated chemical gases to end the siege.” It did not specify which gases, which could theoretically include anything from tear gas to poison.
Again, government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that no chemical weapons were used, that the collapse of floors in the mall was caused by a fire set by the terrorists, not a demolition, and that the official civilian death toll remains 61.
“Al-Shabab is known for wild allegations and there is absolutely no truth to what they’re saying,” he said. But officials said the death count will likely rise. Estimates varied between only a few bodies to dozens of bodies possibly still inside the mall.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest developments from Kenya.