Tragedy at Westgate

CS. 07

Westgate Terror Attack, Government of Kenya

It was an act of terror that shook the world. The Jihadist militant group Al-Shabaab had long threatened to attack the heart of Kenya in reprisal for that country’s military campaign against the terrorists in Somalia. On 21st September 2013 they stormed an upmarket shopping mall in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, leaving 67 dead and 175 wounded.
Challenge

BTP were tasked with communicating the government’s response during and post-crisis. 

Work

We were immediately asked by the government to provide international crisis communications and media relations support. Managing this activity from both London and Kenya, we supplied interview preparation, messaging, and set up an international press office to receive and filter requests. At the same time we drafted Op-Eds, speeches, a key message and Q&A document for all government officials speaking to the media, and directly advised the Director of Communications for the President on a regular basis during the crisis.

"A formidable reputation" The Africa Report

BTP drafted and placed an Op-Ed for President Uhuru Kenyatta in The Wall Street Journal, calling for international support to fight terrorism, as well as an article for the Kenyan Foreign Minister in The Guardian. We organised and supported spokespersons for international broadcast interviews with CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, NBC, Sky News and others. Similarly interviews and briefings were given to the The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Times of London.

Results

Following a siege lasting several days, all the terrorists were killed by the Kenyan military. The Kenyan government’s voice was clearly heard both during and after the event. The government’s determination to hold the perpetrators to account, unite both the country and the world against Al-Shabaab, as well as heal the Kenyan nation came through clearly and unambiguously.