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Spanish woman trapped in Kenya mall horror

George Mills · 23 Sep 2013, 10:09

Published: 23 Sep 2013 10:09 GMT+02:00

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"I've never seen anything like it in the 22 years I've been living in Nairobi,"  Silvia Ojeda told Canary Islands newspaper La Opinión de Tenerife.

Ojeda and her daughter where shopping for clothes on Saturday when they heard  the first shots by the attackers belonging to the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab terror group.

They were trapped in the mall's Woolworths store for four hours while as many as 15 gunmen went on a deadly rampage killing customers at  Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre, a location popular with the city's expats.

At first "the people were a little frightened and they start coming into shop. And we realized what we were hearing was shots," said Ojeda on Sunday from the safety of her home.

She and her daughter waited out the attack with other clients of the shopping centre, sharing information with other customers.

"We were sitting silently and every time someone received a call, we got a fright," said the woman, originally from Spain's Canary Islands. 

They learnt what was going on in the mall via text messages, call and details provided by an Italian journalist. 

"My daughter couldn't stop crying. There was a lot of noise and shooting," Ojeda said.

Two other young children who had lost their parents waited out the attack with Ojeda and her daughter. All were eventually freed by Kenyan security agents.

"They took us out in single file," said the Spanish expatriate.

Many of the people had remained calm in the store but broke down when they made it safely outside," she explained. 

Story continues below…

The attack on the Westgate mall began on Saturday. By Sunday, Kenyan security forces had secured much of the complex but the Al-Shabaab terrorists are believed to be still holding a number of hostages.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali terror group. 

In 2010, the group attacked people watching the World Cup football final on television in Kampala, Uganda, killing 77 people.

On Sunday, CNN reported that three of the gunmen in the Westgate mall attack were US citizens. 

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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