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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

World

Indian living 2 minutes away from Westgate Mall speaks to HT
Hindustan Times
Nairobi, September 22, 2013
First Published: 18:13 IST(22/9/2013)
Last Updated: 02:54 IST(23/9/2013)

Binod Prasad, a pharmaceutical company director, talks to HT from the Kenyan capital:


“Come over to Westgate,” a British business associate and friend called me around 12:30pm (3pm IST) on Saturday.
 
He was doing a promotion show in Kenya’s largest mall. I live just a two-minute drive away. I was outside and headed home to pick up my wife and two daughters.
 
They could spend time at the mall while I quickly helped out my friend, the one of many to have enriched my life since I moved to this wonderful country in 2001.
 
My friend had been allocated a stall facing the art café (I was later told the terrorists entered from there).
 
Around 1pm, my friend called again. “Don’t come to the mall. Terrorists have entered.”
 
He was frantic and I was confused. I stayed put at home and glued to the TV, watching horrified as madness unfolded.
 
I can only say God and my friend saved us.
 
Westgate Mall is often the chosen weekend spot for my wife and kids. We have been there hundreds of times. The Nakumatt supermarket is a favourite, as are the eateries and the Cineplex where we have caught several Hindi movies over the years.
 
Thousands visit the mall. Israelis have a major stake in the venture.
 
It is a very painful moment for Kenyans and us. All of us are very shaken at the moment.
 
I have lost acquaintances and friends in the dastardly attack. I have sent you pictures, but please do not use them because they will only bring pain to the families of those who have lost their loved ones.
 
Luckily, the friend who alerted me to stay away is alive. He spent a horrific four hours inside the mall as the gunmen went on the rampage. When he finally managed to flee, I picked him up. That is the least I could do.
 
We have spoken to our families in India. They are panicking.
 
My wife, children and I are praying for the terror to end. We are cooped up inside our house. This is the scariest Sunday we have ever lived. 
 
As told to Ipsit Mohapatra over a series of Facebook messages and emails on Sunday afternoon


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