Westgate attack nine years on: Ben Mulwa recounts horrifying ordeal, with a bullet wound in his knee
Ben Mulwa, a governance consultant at the office of the Governor Kilifi County, is one of the survivors of the chilling Westgate Terror Attack. He recounts his ordeal.
Sixty-seven (67) people lost their lives and 200 others wounded when masked gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall, an upscale mall in Nairobi, on September 21 2013.
Nine (9) years since the attack happened, Mulwa gives his testimony on what he experienced during the attack .
To Mulwa, the day was just like any other. “I had gone for lunch with my friends at the restaurant in Westgate due to its convenience and reach,” he says.
“We were at the checkpoint when we heard the first gunshot; no one took it serious as we all assumed that it was a normal police activity since many businesses were located there.”
He says that by the time they heard the fourth and fifth gunshots and saw the security guards running helter-skelter, that’s when they got off their car and hid.
He says that he saw two men both armed with AK47 guns with a bullet belt and shooting at all angles without care.
One of the security guards was shot right in front of him and he could do nothing to help, gripped with shock and fear.
The gunman further directed the gun to him and shot but with coincident it missed him. “I laid down and till to date I do not know whether he left me on the assumption that he shot me or not."
Terror attack aftermath
Many children lost their lives including a journalist, who was at the rooftop. The rescue team came and they were asked to come out of there hiding. He was taken to the hospital and later found out that he had a gun wound on his leg.
Mulwa left the hospital after his wound had been attended to and that’s when he saw people discussing the events of the attack and he then realized that he was one of the survivors.
“It’s a painful thing that many children lost their lives, I do not take anything for granted and I thank God for everything."
Many survivors went for therapy for three years and he also took part in counseling others.
“Westgate attack was an embarrassing incident to the nation in relation to how respondence was made. One year after the attack, another one happened - the Garissa University attack - and how security agencies respondent was also not quick.” he says.
"Westgate served us important lessons. It has been a period of reflection and strengthening our capacity as a Service."
The Westgate attack served us an important lesson to Kenya's fight against terrorism. National Police Service (NPS) says that It has been a period of reflection and strengthening "our capacity as a Service."
Over the past 9 years, over40,000 new police officers have been employed. This added to the 24,000 additional AP officers deployed into General Duty after the NPS merger. This has improved police officers' numbers immensely.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has also stepped up anti-terrorism efforts in terms of capacity building and expertise training of its Anti-Terror Unit officers.
In his message to Kenyans, Mulwa is urging citizens to play their active role in fight against violent extremism.
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