A Kenyan court has denied a plea for bail by four Somali men charged with terrorist offences for allegedly helping an armed group assault a Nairobi shopping mall in an attack that killed at least 67 people.

Nairobi's Chief Magistrate, Kiarie Waweru Kiarie, said on Wednesday that he had denied bail because the suspects might interfere with the investigation into the attack.

The four-day attack in the upmarket shopping centre was claimed by Somalia's al-Shabab. They said it was a warning to Kenya to pull its troops out of southern Somalia, where they are fighting the group as part of an African Union force.

The four were formally charged with the "commission of a terrorist act" under Kenya's an                   ti-terrorism laws on November 4.

Other accusations ranged from providing support and shelter to the gunmen to using false documents. They pleaded not guilty.

The men were named in court documents as Mohamed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah Omar and Hussein Hassan, while a fourth was identified as Adan Mohamed Ibrahim, although he was listed as using other aliases.

The court set a formal date for the start of trial on January 15. The men were remanded in custody until then.

Source: Agencies