ABC Radio National - Interview with Marius Benson

As acting Minister for Foreign Affairs

Subject: Terror attack in Nairobi

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

23 September 2013

MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Robb, can I begin by asking you what the latest information is that you have on Australians involved in the situation in Nairobi?

ANDREW ROBB: We have been advised that there is one Australian unfortunately has died, has been killed in this attack, an Australian-UK joint citizen. And there are one or two others who have been confirmed to have escaped from the attack in that shopping mall.

MARIUS BENSON: Has the joint Australian-UK citizen who's died been identified?

ANDREW ROBB: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have identified the Australian citizen, but it's not appropriate at the moment to name that individual. The family of the victim has requested privacy at this stage.

MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Robb, this attack has been carried out by Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab, very well known in Australia, particularly because in 2009 it was found to be behind a planned attack on the Holsworthy Army Base here in Australia. Is there a new level of alert as a result of the Nairobi action here?

ANDREW ROBB: Well, the travel advisory has now been updated to reflect this recent security incident in Nairobi and we are recommending that Australians avoid all public places in Nairobi for the next 24 to 48 hours. Our travel advisory has, for a long time now, listed Kenya as a high-risk terrorist attack country, and of course that has now been escalated.

MARIUS BENSON: And in terms of the situation here in Australia, is there a raised level of concern about Al-Shabaab given the history of the involvement with that Holsworthy planned attack in 2009?

ANDREW ROBB: Well, Al-Shabaab is listed as a terrorist entity by Australia under its financial sanctions regime and under our criminal code. That of course continues. There is no sense at the moment of an increased alert at all of attacks in Australia. Of course Australia is always on the alert for attacks of any general nature, as other major countries around the world are also.

MARIUS BENSON: And is there particular concern given that the places, the locations of the people involved in this attack were given as people who lived in Western nations? They were clearly Somali names, but they lived in places like Minneapolis and Kansas City and Finland and the UK.

ANDREW ROBB: Well, it clearly was, firstly, a very soft target, which is a matter of concern. But also there does appear to be a clear intent in terms of the site that's been chosen and the spread of nationalities that certainly would be in that shopping mall at the time.

MARIUS BENSON: Andrew Robb, thanks very much.

ANDREW ROBB: Thanks Marius.

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