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    STEPHLOKI   155,324
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Terror Attack on a Shopping Mall in Nairobi

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yesterday I was going to meet BF just for a quick cup of coffee in a mall in our area. He had some banking to do. When i got there he was just finishing banking at one bank, so I went to buy airtime for my mobile (not sure what made me buy that, but it helped later). AT that time the lights went off, so I bought the airtime from the vendor at the light of the computer screen and we laughed about it, since this happens frequently.
Then I got out BF was finished with that bank, but still had another to go to. Since I saw a friend in an open coffee shop near the entrance we went to say hi to her, chatted for 2 minutes, then we went upstairs to go to the other bank (something was urging me to move on, otherwise we would have probably sat down for a coffee with her). Just as we entered the bank I heard a big bang like something big falling over (that was a grenade downstairs), and saw people running, next thing gunshots started.
The bank reacted very quickly, pulled everyone nearby on the corridor inside, locked the doors. First we went to shelter near the counters, where a wall protected us, but the shooting went on & on, so the bank manager decided to open up the strong room with the safety deposit lockers for us. WE all piled in there and the waiting started. We were very safe there, but could hear the gun shots. We had a plain cloth police reservist with us, who got us information and someone managed to switch the TV in the banking hall to a news station. From the corridor the men could peep on the TV, that way we had at least some info.
Interestingly another branch manager from the same bank but branch in a different town was there as well. The 2 branch managers together made decisions quickly and people remainedd calm, even the children. I think what helped was the fact that we didn't quite know how bad it was and that there were so many people injured and shot.
We sat for 5 hours, but after 3 hours we heard about people being evacuated from other floors. Our floor has to be last, since it had not direct emergency exit and the stair cases were not safe.
I was panicky, since I could not reach my friend whom we had left downstairs waiting for her coffee, right there were everything started.
But BF helped me focus on ourselves.
When the forces came now on our floor to evacuate the place and the shooting came closer, the bank managers quickly moved the women & children behind the counters now into the anteroom for the actual safe. For about 1 hour I had no contact with BF, but I was busy calming some people down, talking to parents with their shellshocked children and getting the children to talk.
When we were told we are getting out now, but have to walk out with our hands in the air, so that the Forces know we are harmless, I saw BF in line (we had to queue in single file), so I knew he is ahead of me. Just when we left teh bank door and entered the corridor and realized the troups where going to fleece us to ensure none of the terrorists was among us, the shooting started again a floor below. There is a big open void in that mall. So some girls next to me freaked out. I took one girls hand (as we were sticking them in the air) and we ran together, the Troups were standing along the corridor showing us where to run along the walls & encouraged us. When we got to the next floor, which has an adjacent roof top parking, we were searched again for weapons, but they kept telling us "you are safe now". Wehn we got out in the parkign the rfirst thing I saw was lots of Red Cross Volunteers & the head of Disaster Response ( a known figure in Nairobi) was right us telling us that we are safe & we should smile. They had ambulances there to take us down the ramp & out of the area. I didn't know Nairobi now has that many ambulances & these days the teams on them are well trained. That was not a given 15 years ago when I worked as a EMT.
When we got off the ambulance we walked to the next shopping mall up the road, which is where the policed had cordoned off the area & BF's son & grandson picked us.
As I am writing this - 21 hours after it all started, the "only" ones left are the hostages. We still don;t know how many they are. But apparently they are being kept in the Supermarket, hopefully they are being given some food.

Being locked inside a bank vault for 5 hours with now way to get out, makes you realize that in such situation there are no toilets reachable......

Please pray for the different Forces (Kenyan Defence Forces, Mossad, CIA, British Army and probably others as well) for wisdom on how to handle the situation, pray for the hostages for courage & safety.

Al Shabab a islamic terror group has said they are responsible. They did another similar attack on a Mall in Mogadishu, Somalia at the same time, but information on that is very scanty
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCKYMTNGIRL1 10/7/2013 10:30PM

    Oh, Steph! What a horrifying experience! I'm so glad that you and your bf and friend are safe. Even though I'm so far away I'm sending lots and lots of hugs your way! You take care of yourself, be good to yourself and be safe emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LAURIE5658 9/28/2013 12:33PM

    Steph, I continue to pray for you and please know that you are still heavily on my mind.

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ORANGEKIWI1 9/26/2013 1:52PM

    Hi Steph,

How terrible! Sounds extremely frightening!!! You said your car was in the garage but I had no idea you were at the mall yourself. Terrorism is such a low and pointless activity. I could just imagine you running with the girl who had freaked out. I hope you are taking it easy now and can put it behind you. I don't pray but I have been thinking positive thoughts for Nairobi!

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TMINUS65 9/25/2013 7:45AM

  Thoughts are with you and all that have suffered. So glad you and your friends are ok.

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KENDRACARROLL 9/24/2013 11:08PM

    I can't even imagine the terror you must have felt. Glad you're safe. Be good to yourself.

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TAYSMOM77642 9/23/2013 4:35PM

    I cannot even begin to imagine the horror you felt at that moment but I am glad to hear that you made it out safely. You kept your cool in an extremely stressful situation and you should be commended on that.

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SUNNYSIDEUPMARY 9/23/2013 3:48PM

    So sorry to read about what happened - and SO glad you are safe! {{{HUGS}}}

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DDOORN 9/23/2013 2:26PM

    Such a tragedy for all involved, even the perpetrators must have had some extraordinary circumstances which brought them to such horrible actions.

So relieved to know you and your contacts are okay!

Don

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JASMINELOU 9/23/2013 9:09AM

    Glad you are ok Steph! emoticon

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LOVINGAFRICA 9/23/2013 8:28AM

    Honey, I am sending you hugs and prayers and lots of love. May the Lord touch you and heal you and everybody affected by this senseless attack. May the Lord keep His hand of protection over those poor hostages.
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Thank you for blogging about it, may sharing your experience really help you too.

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IONA72 9/23/2013 3:53AM

    Hi Steph hope things are getting back to normal for you and friends, what an awful thing to happen. Saw coverage on TV, living nightmare.

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BBAHONORS 9/22/2013 9:30PM

    So glad you are safe, Steph!

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STEPHLOKI 9/22/2013 4:17PM

    My friend who we had seen 2 minutes before that happened is fine, I talked to her last evening.

Another colleague had his wife trapped inside, but she is also safe and out. Right now there is a fierce gun fight going on. The combinec military troups hope this will be final. Please pray for the 30 hostages and any other victims still hiding in the Mall in other areas

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NYARAMULA 9/22/2013 2:03PM

    Steph I am so glad you are safe.

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LIZALOT 9/22/2013 2:03PM

    What a terrible thing to have to go through. glad you and BF are ok.

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LAURIE5658 9/22/2013 1:57PM

    Steph, I have no words but I have many many {{{hugs}}}. I am so grateful you and your beloved are safe.

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UNICORN212 9/22/2013 1:55PM

    You are so lucky you were able to get out and are OK! I am reading that there were 10-15 attackers and 59 are dead, and some are still being held. I do not understand what is wrong with people who can do this sort of thing!

Hugs to you and your BF!

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DEBBYFROMMT 9/22/2013 1:25PM

    Oh Steph! This was just awful! Glad you and BF are safe. Prayers to the hostages and families of the deceased.

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LOVESLIFE48 9/22/2013 11:07AM

    Wow!! So so happy you and bf are safe!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIRAGE727 9/22/2013 10:47AM

    Terrifying to say the least! As my Dad was with the State Dept, we've traveled all over the world. I can say that I've been aware of the vulnerability of being a visitor in another country all my life. Suffice to say, I got my education from living in Teheran, Iran from the age of 11 - 14. It's a fact of life that the percentages of peril all over the world, including one's home, have increased with world events. How sad. So happy you made it through. Be safe.
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Comment edited on: 9/22/2013 10:49:16 AM

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JUNEPA 9/22/2013 10:25AM

    Very scary. Glad you are safe !!

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MJLUVSANIMALS 9/22/2013 10:14AM

    Wow, that had to be ultra terrifying for you and the others. Something I would never want to be involved in. You kept your wits about you, and staying calm is always the answer, you know what getting frantic does to yourself and others. And it upsets the ones that are taking hostages. Amazing that you were able to do that. I would freak out! It sounds like you were in good hands. Let us know how it came out. Not sure if I had heard about it on the news, though? MJ

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SHERIO5 9/22/2013 9:58AM

    I got tense just reading about your experience! emoticon

I am so glad you and BF are safe, have you connected with your friend from the food area?

Give yourself time to recover from this experience, you have been violated in so many levels. It sounds like you were able to be a calming influence during the crisis, what a blessing!

Definitely praying for everyone.

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4_MY_LIFE 9/22/2013 9:51AM

    Glad you made it out safely. emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 9/22/2013 9:42AM

    so glad you and BF are safe!

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WENDYSPARKS 9/22/2013 9:40AM

    emoticon

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NATPLUMMER 9/22/2013 9:13AM

    Oh no! I'm so glad you are safe!!
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ZELLAZM 9/22/2013 8:29AM

    I'm happy to hear you're safe and pray that your friend is safe as well. Thank you for updating us on the attack...it helps sometimes to hear an insider's story since we don't get the full picture from the news media.

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OWL_20 9/22/2013 7:51AM

    Oh Steph, unimaginable! So glad you and BF are all right. What a horrible thing to have happened. I hope the hostages are released unharmed soon. Please take care!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/22/2013 7:44AM

    How awful. Hope everyone will be safe soon.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/22/2013 7:42AM

    So glad you are safe. The minute I heard about it I thought of you, but didn't really think you'd be in the middle of this!

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TRILLIUM22 9/22/2013 7:37AM

    That sounds scary. So glad you are safe.

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SEABREEZE64 9/22/2013 6:00AM

    I am so sorry that this attack occurred, but glad you and your BF are safe. Will keep the others in my thoughts.

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HUNTETOWN 9/22/2013 5:25AM

    So glad nothing to happened to you and BF, hope your other friend is well.This is a terrible thing to happen and the hostages are in my thoughts. Kudos to the bank managers that reacted so fast and brought lots of people in safety doing so.
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Sue

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