21 September 2013

Kenya: I Escaped Westgate Mall Siege by Acting Dead

Nairobi — Eighteen-year-old Umar Ahmed was all geared up for the Safaricom 7s Rugby tournament and was just about to make his way there from the Westgate mall when all hell broke loose.

“I was at Westgate mall rooftop at the parking, and all of a sudden I heard screams and gunshots all over,” Ahmed told Capital FM News.

He ducked but not before one of the gunmen who had stormed the mall on Saturday morning caught sight of him and hurled a grenade in his direction.

“I got scared, I tried to run down the stairs and saw someone running towards the top, I ran back and hid behind one of the cars,” he said at the MP Shah Hospital where he is nursing burns on his hands and chest.

In spite of the searing pain, Ahmed was forced to play dead as his attacker sought to confirm that he was indeed dead and thankfully turned back on seeing him lie still.

“After a while, the police came and we were able to be evacuated,” he said relieved that he was not among the over 30 who died from their gunshot wounds.

There were at least 80 people admitted to the MP Shah hospital according to the institution’s chairman Manoj Shah.

“Our bed capacity is full, we cannot accommodate any other person, we need more supplies and we are appealing to our suppliers and well wishers to come in and help,” Shah pleaded.

He said that 11 people were brought in dead, pointing out that the mortuary was also at full capacity.

He said that the hospital had recalled all their doctors and more volunteer doctors have also joined them.

“We also have a blood shortage and we are appealing to Kenyans to urgently rush to the hospital and donate blood especially blood group O negative and O positive,” he appealed.

Health Secretary James Macharia also is appealing to Kenyans especially those living in Nairobi to urgently rush to hospitals and health centres within the city and donate blood.

Macharia assured that all hospitals in Nairobi have been put on high alert to handle any emergencies arising from the Westgate attack.

Masked gunmen stormed the shopping mall on Saturday and sprayed bullets on shoppers and staff leaving tens dead and tens of others wounded.

Several civilians were trapped inside the four-storey shopping mall for more than eight hours after the attack began and heavy fire was heard as police units moved in.

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