Kenya Massacre: Muslims left untouched; 9 Hindus selectively targeted and killed by Islamists
ABUJA: An Indian man was shot when he failed to answer a question on Islam asked by (Islamic) terrorists who were holding hostages after killing 68 people at an upmarket mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The heavily armed gunmen belonging to al Qaida-linked Somali militant group al Shabab, reports said, were trying to weed out non-Muslims for execution by interrogating people on their faith or asking them to recite the ‘Shahada’.
During a lull in the firing, the attackers called out for Muslims to identify themselves and leave, British newspaper The Guardian quoted (an eyewitness) as saying.
Then an Indian man came forward and they said, ‘What is the name of Muhammad’s mother?’ When he couldn’t answer they just shot him.
RAJKOT: The terrorist attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi has sent shock waves in Gujarat’s Saurashtra and Kutch. Local officials and community members confirmed that at least seven migrants from the state were killed in the strike, but the number could rise substantially once the hostage crisis is over.Of the victims, four were women. All of them were from Saurashtra and Kutch.Sources said many people were being held hostage in the mall by terrorists on Sunday. Dinesh Vaghjiani (29) originally from Sukhpar village near Bhuj, was inside the mall during the attack and managed to escape. He said, “There are many Gujaratis trapped inside the mall. About 7,000 people visit the mall every weekend.”Among the victims was Mitul Shah whose family migrated from Jamnagar and runs an oil exporting firm in Kenya. By late evening sources confirmed the death of Rajen Solanki and Anuj Shah.In Rajkot, the Vaya family lost two of its daughters-in-law – Jyoti Vaya (35) and Malti Vaya (33). They had gone to the mall on Saturday to attend a children’s activity when they were killed. Other members of the family managed to escape.The two were married to brothers Dharmesh, a bank manager, and Ramesh, who was employed at a provision store. “We can’t sleep after getting a call from our relatives in Nairobi,” said Hemant Vaya, a jeweller in Rajkot who is the uncle of Dharmesh and Ramesh. “We are feeling helpless and constantly watching TV for updates,” he said.In Jamnagar, tragedy befell Narandas Mashroo and his family who lost their 16-year-old granddaughter Neha in the shootout.Nehal Vekaria (17) of Naranpar village near Bhuj was also killed in the attack. “Like every Saturday, she had gone to participate in a cooking competition at the mall when the terrorists attacked,” said her distraught grandfather Vaghjibhai Vekaria.
The Indians killed in the attack have been identified as 40-year-old Sridhar Natarajan, employee of a local pharmaceutical firm and 8-year old Paramshu Jain, son of the local Branch Manager of Bank of Baroda (Kenya Limited).
The injured Indians are Sridhar Natarajan’s wife Manjula Sridhar, Paramshu Jain’s mother Mukta Jain and 12-year-old Poorvi Jain and Natarajan Ramachandran, an employee of Flamingo Duty Free, Nairobi.
|(Clockwise from above) Bodies of the victims inside the Westgate Shopping Centre, Sridhar Natarajan, one of the two Indians killed, and shoppers being evacuated from the mall|
Kyalo said he then heard them yell: “If you are a Muslim get out first,” as the merciless gang sprayed bullets towards those they suspected were not their sympathisers.
“Those who identified themselves as Muslims were allowed to exit the mall, while the two men shot at everyone.
Mr John Kiarie, one of the survivors, said he overhead the gang say: “We have come to revenge” before he heard gunshots rent the air.
“They dressed like Muslims and wore Taqiya (cap) and said that they were out to execute a mission before they shot at everyone and injured me on the leg,” he said at the MP Shah hospital.
11.16 am: Many of the injured are Indians, say Kenyan media A media report by Kenyan news agency Standard Digital has said that ‘many’ Indian names featured in lists of patients who were being treated at hospitals after a terror attack at the upmarket Westgate mall in Nairobi.
A list at the notice board was conspicuous with names of people with Indian origin, their ages indicated against their names. Areas around Westlands are mainly inhabited by Indians who mostly shop at the lavish mall”, the report said. Meanwhile the report also quoted doctors as saying that many of those injured had bullets lodged inside their bodies and had stomach, lower abdomen and chest injuries, with others requiring urgent operations.
Mulwa said the men had keffiyeh (a kind of checked scarf popularised by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat) wrapped around their necks.
AHMEDABAD: A large number of Gujaratis, mostly from Saurashtra and Kutch, are feared to be among the 200 people injured in the terrorist attack in a shopping mall in Nairobi.
Shashikant Sanghani, 43, a civil engineer who has a business in Nairobi said, “I had gone to get my mobile phone repaired and suddenly heard gunshots. After knowing that it was a terrorist attack, I got holed up in one of the stores in the mall for nearly six hours. These were the most terrifying moments of my life.”
Sanghani said that of the 300 shops in the mall, at least 70 are owned by Gujaratis.
Hitesh Brahmbhatt, who works in another mall about half a kilometer away, said, “From the mall I was in, I could see the mayhem out there. I went to the hospital after the attack and got to know that a large number of Gujaratis have been injured.”
Meanwhile, saints of the Swaminarayan temple in Nairobi also held a prayer meeting for the victims at their temple.
Navin Patel, a Swaminarayan volunteer in Nairobi said, “We are making all efforts to reach out to as many Gujaratis as possible and extend help.”
Harshad Patel, another volunteer, said, “A blood donation camp was also organized and we encouraged people to come in large numbers.”
Residents of Jamnagar and Kutch made frantic calls to their relatives and acquaintances in Nairobi to get an update about their kin. Prayer meetings were also held in villages like Mirzapar, Madhapar, Baladia, Meghpar, Naranpar, Mankuva, Samatra, Kera and Bharaser of Kutch for the safety of Gujarati people. A large number of people from these villages have settled in Kenya.
R R Patel of the Kutchi Leuva Patel Samaj said, “We got to know that many people are still held as hostages. We are extremely worried and just praying for the safety of our people.”
“Safety is a big concern for Gujarati people in Kenya. The new generation is now trying to explore opportunities in countries like Sudan,” said Shivji Vekaria of Naranpar village.
Another indication no hostages had been freed: None appeared at the Oshwal Centre, a squat concrete structure that houses a Hindu temple just next to the mall that the Red Cross is using as a triage center.
Grief: Kamal Kaur, left, with Ruhila Adatia, who was shotA terrified survivor of the Nairobi shopping centre terror attack has described the full horror of the carnage in a succession of tweets.
Radio presenter Kamal Kaur used Twitter to detail how her son ‘almost had his head blown off’ by gunmen who stormed the Westgate mall on Saturday, killing 68 people including three Britons.
Her colleague Ruhila Adatia, who was six months pregnant, was one of those killed in the assault.
‘I still haven’t told my children that their Ruhila Auntie is no more,’ she wrote, tweeting as @kamz26.
‘I don’t know how to. I can’t. They’re still in shock and wounded.’
Ms Kaur, who was attending a children’s cookery event in the centre, told Channel 4 News: ‘In my corner where I was, I had at least 30, 35 kids with me. At that moment, the guys came out. People were hysterical, obviously.
‘They threw two grenades at us and they shot at us.’