Adventist University Professor Among the Dead in Nairobi Terrorist Attack
From ANN, September 23, 2013
At least one Adventist family from Nairobi suffered a loss during the terrorist attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall in which more than 60 people were killed and at least 170 injured. Harun Oyieke, a faculty member at Co-operative University College of Kenya, was among those killed. He was the husband of Florence Awino, a professor at the University of Nairobi.
The attack occurred at about 11 a.m. on Saturday. Between 10 and 15 terrorists armed with automatic weapons and grenades attacked the shopping mall. Among those killed were South African, American, Ghanaian, French, Netherlands, Australian, British, Chinese, Dutch, Danish, Indian and Canadian nationals. Several members of the Kenyan police and military were also killed or wounded as they attempted to rescue hostages.
World leaders, including United Nations secretary general Ban-ki Moon and United States President Barack Obama, condemned the attack and expressed condolences with those who had lost relatives and friends. “This is a time of shock for all Kenyans and all – including the UN family – who are proud to call Nairobi home,” Ban-ki Moon said in a statement. “I express my solidarity with them at this moment of grief and loss.”
The siege continued into the early hours of Monday night, when the Kenyan forces broke through and released the remaining hostages. The Somali Islamist al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack. Kenyans lined up at Uhuru Park to donate blood for persons injured in the attack.
A survivor, Jackson Mwema, was quoted in The Standard as saying the attackers released some hostages. “They were asking our names and demanding that we read some information I couldn’t understand,” Mwema said. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who lost his nephew and the nephew’s fiancée in the attack, condemned the terrorists, saying his government would not allow them to break the country’s unity along religious lines.
Reports said the attackers, who had been dropped off at the mall in three cars, overwhelmed security guards by shooting shoppers indiscriminately. They besieged the mall and held scores of shoppers hostage as they exchanged fire with Kenyan police and the military. TV footage and pictures showed bewildered children standing next to dead bodies and wounded shoppers in and outside the mall.
Kenyans responded to the attack by donating blood for the victims and sending messages of hope. The national blood bank had exceeded its annual average of 40,000 liters, and over $600,000 was collected in two days, to which the Adventist Church in Kenya gave $12,000. Vice President William Ruto said Kenyans had defeated evil by meeting it with kindness.
The Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The primary reporter for this story was Dan Okoth.