21 January 2019

Kenya: Hero Security Guard Who Saved Lives During Dusit Attack

It was a quiet afternoon and work was going on well for Dendrix Lemisi, a security guard with Senaca security firm.

Lemisi was absorbed at his work station in the control room on the third floor of the Grosvenor building at 14 Riverside Drive.

From here, he monitored activities within the building as patrons and visitors moved in and out of the vast compound.

Then the afternoon tranquility was suddenly turned on its head. First, there was a deafening blast followed by rattling gunfire across the compound. Pandemonium ensued as hundreds of people in the hotel, and those working in offices on the upper floors of the complex, started screaming and running for cover.

The place was under an attack. A terror attack.

CHOSE TO STAY

Lemisi, 47, had the choice take the closest exit and run for dear life and limb. Having worked as a security guard since 2013, flight would not have been too hard. He chose to stay instead.

Lemisi tossed himself into the line of the terrorists' fire and rescue many helpless civilians who were running up and down in the confusion that ensued.

Meanwhile, those who worked with him at the control room made for the exit and managed to leave the building unharmed.

Armed with only bravery and the determination to save lives, Lemisi went from room to room calling out for people who were stranded and then guiding them out to safety.

He had done a heroic job by leading tens of people out of harm's way. His colleagues even persuaded him not to go back into the chaos in the building.

He defied them.

"He was determined to save as many people as possible," a colleague of his, who did not wish to be named, told Nation.

HOSTAGE SITUATION

By this time, the terrorists had advanced into the building and were now shooting indiscriminately at whoever they came across. A hostage situation was fast building up and hundreds were now trapped in the complex.

Outside, reports of a terror attack had spread and security forces drawn from multiple units were descending into the building to evacuate people and kill the assailants.

In one of the many rooms, Lemisi came upon a woman who was stuck alone. He held her by the hand, hoping to see her off to safety. But the terrorists had spotted the pair and waylaid them. They sprayed bullets at them. The rescuer and his evacuee died on the spot.

The guard, who hailed from Shinyalu in Kakamega County, has been described as a gallant soldier by his employer.

He is survived by his wife and four children. The firstborn girl is a first-year student at Chuka University.

While grieving his son, Mzee Zacharia Amusala said he was proud of him for "putting his life on the line for the sake of other people".

'MORE DEATHS'

"There would probably be more deaths if he had chosen to run for his life. It was unfortunate that he died," Mzee Amusala said.

By the time of the attack, Senaca security firm had 11 guards in the complex, two of whom were manning the control room. Another security guard, Henry Obwoga, also died in the attack.

Rescue hero Inayat Kassam may be the irrefutable depiction of valour since the Tuesday terror attack. Kassam and other private security experts put their life on the line by storming the complex and leading hundreds to safety. But Lemisi will surely go down as a hero for saving lives and sacrificing his.

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