Friday , January 15 2021

Last moments of Kenya attack victims revealed at memorial



NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Hiding from gunmen in an office building, a group of people killed gunshots getting louder and the clatter of a weapon being run on a staircase, according to a survivor of an Islamic extremist attack in Kenya last week. Then a gunman opened the door of the room where the workers huddled, said he was with al-Shabab and started shooting.

In a high floor of the Nairobi building, witnesses said, a gunman pushed against the door of a bathroom where women were hiding and said: "We know you're in there." Open. "

New details of the Jan. 15 assault on the dusitD2 hotel and office complex in Kenya's capital on Tuesday in a church memorial for six employees of digital payments company Cellulant who were killed. The tribute touched on the horror, as well as the anguish of colleagues in safety, who received receiving messages from trapped friends

"Our teams would tell us, 'Help us, help us. This is where we are The gunshots are coming closer and closer, 'said Ken Njoroge, CEO and co-founder of Cellulant, which operates in several African countries.

Workers in the Cellulant offices on the fifth and sixth floors of the Cavendish building, beside the hotel, thought a blast at around 3 p.m. On the day of the attack was a "gas explosion" and was not particularly alarmed, Njoroge said. A few minutes later, they heard another explosion followed by gunfire. They headed for the exits.

"The teams started to mobilize," Njoroge said hundreds of mourners. "I think it became very clear that all was not well."

Some 83 out of 100 workers in the Cellulant offices at the time escaped, but the rest did not make it out and split in two groups, he said. Six hid in a small room under the stairs on the first floor, and the other 11 returned to the fifth floor, where they also split: The men in the men's bathroom, and women in the women's bathroom.

Njoroge, who was a business travel to Zambia at the time and quickly returned to Kenya, compiled the account from colleagues. He said, "When you hear the gunshots, all of your other senses go away." You can not see, you can not hear Nothing. '"

Kenyan security forces have been praised for their quick response to the attack, in contrast to their fumbling response to the 2013 attack on the nearby Westgate Mall that killed 67 people. The attack last week killed a total of 21 people, including a police officer, and was declared over nearly 20 hours after it started. More than 700 people were evacuated. All five attackers, among them a suicide bomber, died A number of suspected accomplices are under arrest.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility The group says it attacks Kenya for joining a African Union force fighting against it in its home base of neighboring Somalia. The extremists have been heavily targeted by US air strikes

Continuing with his account, Njoroge said one or two gunmen flung open the door to the men's bathroom on the fifth floor, 36-year-old Ashford Kuria Maina, pulled him out and killed him

"'They've taken Ashford and we've heard some gunshots,'" A colleague texted to friends who were safe, providing a near instantaneous report on the horror.

According to the account, the women pushed back. The gunmen left

According to Njoroge, according to the six cellulant employees hiding on the first floor, it was "as if this guy was actually walking on their heads" as they heard a gunman descend the stairs.

The gunman "opened the door and had a conversation with them, introduced himself as al-Shabab" and killed five people, the company CEO said. The sixth employee survived because her male colleagues protected her by tucking her at the back of the room. She smeared blood on self to pretend that she was also a casualty, Njoroge said.

The five men who died there were Denis Munene Mwaniki, 29; Jeremiah Mathai Mbaria, 31; John Wanyaga Ndiritu, 29; Kelvin Kariuki Gitonga, 28; and 23-year-old Wilfred Kareithi Waihura, who was supposed to be a first aid training with colleagues elsewhere but came in the office for a 3 p.m. Conference call with a customer

A week before the al-Shabab assault, victim Ashford Kura Maina talked with a colleague about what they would do if they were attacked on the attack, said associate Alex Kimani. He said his longtime friend "kept giving options."

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Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris


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